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Monday, April 22 2024
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EVM Use in Elections: Supreme Court Dismisses Petitions

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On Friday, the Supreme Court denied two writ petitions: one regarding concerns about 19 lakh missing EVMs and the other asking for ballot paper to be used in elections while maintaining confidence in the EVMs.

The highest court dismissed the fears and accusations as wholly unfounded when ruling on the 19 lakh missing EVM petition, thereby ending the case in favor of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The petitioner, INCP, expressed concern that the forthcoming Lok Sabha General Election of 2024 would be manipulated using the 19 lakh EVMs that went missing from ECI possession between 2016 and 2019.

While refusing to even entertain another petition regarding the conduct of elections using ballot paper by setting aside Section 61A of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, Justice Khanna observed that more than 10 cases have been examined on various issues related to the functioning of EVMs by the court time and again.

While dismissing the petition, the Court reposed its faith in the functioning of the EVMs.

Over the past decades and spanning nearly 40 judgments, the highest Courts have placed their faith and conviction in ECI-EVMs and the surrounding transparent process and rigorous administrative protocols, thereby adding immense value and strength to the evolving jurisprudence in favour of EVMs in India.

The latest decisions of the Supreme Court further add to the robust and growing catena of orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts that have examined various EVM matters and have adjudicated in favour of the Election Commission of India.

It may further be noted that in a recent case (Madhya Pradesh Jan Vikash Party v. Election Commission of India, Special Leave Petition (Civil) 16870/2022, September 2022), the Hon’ble SC imposed a cost of ₹ 50,000 on the petitioner while observing that EVMs have been utilised in the country for decades now but periodically issues are sought to be raised.

The Delhi High Court too had imposed a cost of ₹ 10,000 on one such petition (C.R. Jaya Sukin v. Election Commission of India & Ors., Writ Petition (Civil) 6635/2021, August 2021) asking to stop the use of EVMs in all forthcoming elections and to use ballot paper instead.

A plea by the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee to end the current First Level Checking (FLC) procedure for Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and VVPATS to be used in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections in the NCR was previously denied by the Delhi High Court.

In its ruling, the court dismissed the petitioner’s arguments and emphasized the stability and openness of the current processes.

Throughout its 40-year history, ECI has been at the forefront of disseminating information about EVM-related procedures and safety measures to the general public through publications such as the EVM Manual, Status Paper, EVM Presentation, Commemorative Book, Legal History of EVMs, and the frequently updated EVM FAQs.

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