Supreme Court notice to poll panel on EVMs (Lead)

July 25th, 2011 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday directed the Election Commission to decide on a petition seeking provisions for instant verification of votes cast through electronic voting machines (EVMs).

An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan, and Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the commission to decide within three months on the petition by Nagpur-based Shiv Sena activist Rajindra Satyanarayan Gilda.

Gilda is seeking a provision whereby a device attached to the EVMs issues an acknowledgement slip to the voters, or a screen displays the vote. However, the acknowledgement slip can not be carried out of the polling booth and has to be deposited in a box.

The petitioner said that voting through EVMs was not in consonance with constitutional provisions as it did not provide any facility to verify the vote given by the voter.

The apex court issued the notice after Gilda’s counsel Shekhar Naphade told the court that he had sent a legal notice-cum-representation to the Election Commission Dec 14, 2010. This notice was sent by the commission to the technical experts committee and thereafter there was no word from it.

The court was told that another notice was sent to the commission in March before elections were held in four states, but it went unanswered.

In the representation, Naphade told the court that it was contended that “right to vote means and includes right to know or right to verify” whether a vote cast in favour of a candidate has actually gone to him or not.

Seeking direction to the commission to make necessary modifications in the EVMs to facilitate the verification of vote caste in favour of a particular party or candidate, Gilda said that under the existing EVM system there was no way a vote could be verified.

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