The Election Commission has told the Supreme Court that “it is contemplating foolproof methods” to ensure that electronic voting machines (EVMs) are not misused or tampered with as is being feared in some quarters.
Appearing for the poll panel before a bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi,senior counsel Ashok Desai said the EC was taking various steps in consultation with technical experts and eliciting the views of all recognised political parties on the issue.
On the EC’s submissions,which were made on Thursday,the apex court adjourned till January 22,the hearing on Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy’s petition for a direction to the poll panel that in future elections,EVMs should have a paper trail and issue a paper receipt to each voter.
The Supreme Court had earlier agreed to hear on priority Swamy’s plea to incorporate paper printouts in EVMs or restore paper balloting system allegedly because EVMs “are not tamper proof.”
Arguing in person,Swamy had made a plea for reverting to the old paper-ballot system saying all advanced countries in the world,including the USA and Japan,have discarded EVMs and gone back to the paper-ballot system.
The Janata Party leader had contended that even Japan which had pioneered the launch of EVMs,was today relying on the paper-ballot system only.
He said only private companies across the world are manufacturing EVMs,which are vulnerable to hacking. Swamy’s petition had said India does not indigenously manufacture EVMs and solely depends on its import along with its microchips.
It said it is difficult and unreliable to re-count votes using EVMs.
The apex court on May 7 had sought the stands of the Centre and the Election Commission of India on Swamy’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s order which had dismissed his plea on the issue earlier on January 17.
The high court had said,”It is difficult for this court to direct the Election Commission to have a paper trail of voting conducted through EVMs.”
It,however,had suggested that the Commission could hold wider consultations with the executive,the political parties and other stake holders on the matter.
The high court had disposed of the plea,saying Swamy himself has not alleged any misuse or tampering of current system but maintained that the possibility of such an incident cannot be ruled out.
The EC had earlier opposed the plea,saying returning to the paper ballots would not be feasible as it would require immense expenditure as there were over 73 crore eligible voters in the country.