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Congmen press delete over online voting plan

Two Congressmen from Ahmedabad have challenged the Gujarat government’s move to introduce online voting in the elections to the urban bodies.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
July 7, 2010 1:30:21 am

PIL filed by MLA,ex-mayor in HC challenges govt’s plan for e-voting in urban bodies polls

Two Congressmen from Ahmedabad have challenged the Gujarat government’s move to introduce online voting in the elections to the urban bodies.

Calling the amendments to the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation (BPMC) Act in this regard as being against constitutional provisions,the two have filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at the Gujarat High Court,where a division bench has issued notices to the respondents and has kept it for hearing on August 2.

The move by the Gujarat government to have online voting,the first of its kind in the country,has been challenged by former Ahmedabad Mayor Himmatsinh Patel and sitting Congress MLA from Shaherkotda in Ahmedabad,Shailesh Parmar.

As respondents,the petitioners have named the chief secretary,state urban development department secretary and Chief Election Officer of the State Election Commission.

According to the petitioners’ advocate Ashish Shah,the election process in India has to be free and fair and the ballot has to be secret in any election. However,the recent amendments made to the BPMC Act and its rules are in gross violation of the constitutional mandate since there are a number of possibilities that the process of online voting could be misused,according to the petition.

Also,privacy of any e-vote (through SMS and Internet) will be compromised as there is no safeguard to make sure the person has cast the vote in isolation and as per his wish,the petition says.

The proposed amendments in the BPMC (Registration of Electors) Rules,1994 and in the BPMC Act,the petitioner added,may also bring in problems of verification of a vote cast and possible virus attack that could tamper the entire database of the e-votes and can result into a big election fraud. It may also lead to the purchase or selling of votes by the voters and political fraternity. The petitioners have demanded that the amendments made to the BPMC Act be quashed.

‘Bogus’ voters: EC team arrives today
A two-member team from the Election Commission of India (ECI) will arrive in Gandhinagar on Wednesday to look into the allegations about the presence of bogus voters in electoral lists of all Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies. A complaint lodged by the state Congress had alleged the presence of bogus voters in every constituency and claimed their number could be as high as 25-30 lakh.

The team members,according to Sachivalaya sources,will meet state Election Commission officials in this connection.

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