Oppn moves SC against EVMs used for voter identification
24 April 2019
A combination of opposition parties that had earlier secured a Supreme Court order for vote verification facility at 50 per cent of polling booths has now moved the apex court again seeking cross verification of the electronic voting machines that use voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs).
Twenty-one opposition parties today moved the Supreme Court seeking counter check of at least 50 per cent of electronic voting machines (EVMs) using Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) slips to ensure transparency in counting of votes.
The opposition, which alleged glitches in both EVMs and VVPATs during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, has sought a court direction to the Election Commission in this regard.
The move comes after leaders of the opposition combine that includes the Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Aam Aadmi Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India addressed a joint press conference on Tuesday.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, who spearheads the opposition allaiance against the Narendra Modi government at the centre, said, “We have serious doubts about EVMs. I am a strong supporter of technology. But today, technology is very vulnerable. Every six months technology is changing. There are also technical problems, vulnerability and also malfunctioning. Only three countries out of the ten most populous countries in the world use EVMs. These countries are also not technologically strong."
He alleged that EVMs are vulnerable to "hacking and programming errors," adding that Russian hackers could probably be involved in hacking.
NCP president Sharad Pawar said while citizens are in a mood to change the Modi-led government, manipulation of EVMs is the "only worrying factor".
"Our only worry is someone misusing this technology to manipulate elections...Our worry is manipulation through these machines," Pawar said.
Senior Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde, AAP's Sanjay Singh, TMC MP Nadimul Haque, Mahendra Singh of the CPI(M) also spoke at the joint conference.
Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav also alleged that EVMs in several areas were recording “votes in favour the BJP” amid reports of glitches. “EVMs across India malfunctioning or voting for the BJP. DMs say poll officials untrained to operate EVMs. 350+ being replaced. This is criminal negligence for a polling exercise that costs 50,000 crs,” the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh tweeted.
It may be noted that the Supreme Court had, on 8 April, directed the centre to increase the number of VVPATs used in elections from EVM per assembly segment to five randomly selected EVMs. The court said it was being done to ensure a high degree of accuracy and satisfaction in the election process.