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Supreme Court seeks EC, Centre's response over plea seeking decriminalisation of complaints regarding EVM, VVPAT discrepancies

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to Election Commission of India (ECI) and Centre in connection with a plea seeking to decriminalise a complaint against malfunctioning of VVPATs and EVMs.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising justices Sanjiv Khanna and Deepak Gupta sought a response from the Centre and the poll body over a petition filed by Mumbai-based advocate Sunil Ahya.

 Supreme Court seeks EC, Centres response over plea seeking decriminalisation of complaints regarding EVM, VVPAT discrepancies

Representational Image: PTI

Ahya, through his plea, sought direction to the Centre to set aside Rule 49MA of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, except for the procedure prescribed for purpose of creating a statistical record of the complaints.

According to the present situation, a jail term and fine is guaranteed if the complaint is found false.

Ahya, in his petition, stated that at present, if an elector complains/reports about any discrepancy between EVMs and VVPATs, he may face the consequence of a jail term up to six months if it turns out to be false, so it should be decriminalised.

Section 49MA of the Code of Election Rules states that if a person files a complaint regarding the discrepancy (voted for a particular party but it went to some other party) regarding the EVM, and if after investigation, this is found to be false or incorrect, then the complainant can be prosecuted under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code for "furnishing false information".

"This section invites six months in jail or a Rs 1,000 fine or both."

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Updated Date: Apr 29, 2019 15:24:03 IST