EVM row: SC issues notice to Centre, Election Commission

RSTV Bureau

supreme_courtThe Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre and the Election Commission on a petition challenging the use of Electronic Voting Machines without a voter verifiable paper audit trail.

In an oral observation, a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said technically, we agree that any technology can be tampered with but you have to have sufficient grounds for raising doubts. The electronic voting machine itself was introduced to stop larger evils like booth capturing. This is a work in progress.

The court issued notices to the government and the ECI and asked them to respond to the plea by May 8, the next date of hearing.

The court’s observation came on a plea filed by the BSP challenging the use of EVMs without paper trail.

Even while the apex court was hearing a petition filed by the BSP, the Congress and the Trinamool were allowed to file their intervening applications to be a part of the case.

During the hearing, senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for the BSP, said to assure accuracy in the voting process, paper trail is needed as the hardware and software of EVMs are “vulnerable”.

“There is no way that a voter can verify as to whether the vote cast by him has gone to the right candidate. Without a paper trail, there is no way to verify it. In EVMs, a voter is only pressing the button and he does not know whether the machine is recording his voting correctly or not,” said Chidambaram.

On Wednesday, opposition parties including Congress President Sonia Gandhi met President Pranab Mukherjee to raise concerns over the EVM tampering issue.  BSP Chief Mayawati had raised objections on the use of EVMs in March after assembly elections results. Other political parties have also echoed Mayawati’s concerns on the issue.  Meanwhile, the election commission has maintained that the voting machines are tamper-proof.

(With inputs from PTI)