22-May-2024  Srinagar booked.net

IndiaJudiciary

'EVM Discrepancy': SC Directs ECI To Probe Allegations

“At least four EVMs erroneously registered votes in favour of BJP during mock polling in Kerala"

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New Delhi: As several opposition parties lodged EVM discrepancy complaints with the ECI, stating that four EVMs erroneously registered votes in favour of BJP during mock polls in Kasaragod, Kerala, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to investigate the allegations.

The Supreme Court was hearing a bunch of petitions seeking verification of votes cast via EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). Earlier, opposition parties raised doubts about the integrity of the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and demanded that instead of the VVPAT slip falling into the box, it should be handed over to the voter. The voter would then place it in a separate ballot box after verifying his or her choice.

Earlier, Prashant Bhushan, counsel for one of the petitioners, contended that the flash memory chip inside an EVM is programmable, allowing for the installation of a malicious program on the machine. However, the SC rejected the proposal to replace EVMs with paper ballots, citing India’s large population.

“At least four EVMs were found to have allocated additional votes to the BJP during mock polls in Kasaragod, Kerala. These EVMs awarded two votes to the BJP for every press, while assigning one vote to other parties for each press,” opposition leaders informed the ECI.

“Congress's hand symbol also appeared smaller than all other symbols in the EVMs,” they said.

When Advocate Prashant Bhushan referred to these complaints lodged during mock polls in the Kasargod constituency, the SC instructed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to investigate the allegations, stating that transparency is mandatory in a democracy.

However, the Supreme Court dismissed arguments from Bhushan on the preference for paper ballots in many European countries that had previously used EVMs.