EVM tampering allegations: SC issues notice to Election Commission, seeks reply within four weeks

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Election Commission seeking a response over allegations regarding tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the recently held Assembly elections.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar directed the EC to probe the allegations and submit its response within four weeks over the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate ML Sharma, reported India Today.

According to The Hindu, the plea sought probe into “quality, software/malware and hacking effect in the EVMs from a reliable electronic lab/scientist and software expert and to file their report before this court for further action/prosecution”. 

Representational image. AFP

File image of the Supreme Court of India. AFP

The petitioner had filed the PIL after BSP chief and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal complained of malfunctioning of EVMs which allegedly led to their defeat in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, reported The Times of India. The report added that apex court did not issue a notice to the CBI even though it was requested by the petitioner.

The EC had earlier stated that the EVMs were tamper-proof and termed the allegations as "baseless, speculative and wild".

"ECI unequivocally reiterates that given effective technical and administrative safeguards, EVMs cannot be tampered with and integrity of electoral process is preserved," the EC said in a statement.

It said the commission did not receive specific complaints or concrete material from political parties/candidates about alleged tampering of EVMs in Assembly elections in five states.

"If any specific allegation with material facts is presented to the ECI, it will be looked into with all seriousness," the poll panel said.

"At this stage, baseless, speculative and wild allegations are being made which deserve to be rejected," it added.

The statement said it was not for the first time that allegations and suspicions have been raised "but none of those alleging tampering has been able to demonstrate to the commission... that EVMs used by it can be manipulated or tampered with," it said.

"Today, the EC once again completely reaffirms its faith in the infallibility of the EVMs. These are fully tamper-proof", the EC said.

The statement said that faith on the machine has never wavered through the conduct of elections in the last many years.

"To date, no one has been able to actually demonstrate that EVMs used by the EC can be tampered with or manipulated."

Since 2000, EVMs have been used in 107 elections to state legislative Assemblies and three Lok Sabha elections held in 2004, 2009 and 2014.

The poll panel said that it will "further enhance confidence of citizens in its electoral process by deploying paper audit trail (VVPAT) in a phased manner".

After the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had also raised misgivings about the integrity of the EVMs.

Mayawati had claimed EVMs were tampered with to favour the BJP in the recently-concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Congress and the AAP also demanded that the Delhi municipal elections scheduled for next month be held using paper ballots.

The state election commission has rejected the demand, saying it was too late to do so at this stage.

(With inputs from IANS)

Updated Date: Mar 24, 2017 15:42 PM

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