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  India   All India  18 Apr 2017  Delhi HC issues notice to poll panels on availability of VVPAT machines

Delhi HC issues notice to poll panels on availability of VVPAT machines

Published : Apr 18, 2017, 6:45 pm IST
Updated : Apr 18, 2017, 6:53 pm IST

VVPAT is an equipment which provides a feedback on paper to the voters about whom they have voted using the ballotless voting system.

Delhi High Court. (Photo: Twitter)
 Delhi High Court. (Photo: Twitter)

New Delhi:  The Delhi high court on Tuesday said that it cannot issue directions for the use of VVPAT equipment attached to electronic voting machines in the upcoming MCD polls without any knowledge about its availability with the Election Commission.

Justice A K Pathak issued notices to the Election Commission of India and the Delhi state Election Commission asking them to file their responses on Aam Aadmi Party's plea for use of VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail)-enabled Generation 2 or Generation 3 EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) in the MCD polls.


The judge, however, observed that "at the eleventh hour, I cannot issue any direction to stall the MCD elections". "We cannot interfere with the process when the machines are not available," the court said, asking the EC to inform it on affidvait within two days whether VVPAT equipments were available with them or not.

The court, which fixed the matter for further hearing on April 21, was hearing a petition, filed by Mohd Tahir Hussain, who is contesting in the MCD election, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), alleging that in the recent past, the EVMs have been manipulated in various states.

VVPAT is an equipment which provides a feedback on paper to the voters about whom they have voted using the ballotless voting system.


The matter was listed for hearing after senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the petitioners, mentioned before a bench headed by acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, to list the issue for hearing today on the ground of urgency.

The petitioner sought to know why the Delhi poll panel had asked for Generation-1 EVMs, which are the least secured with minimum security features, to conduct the MCD polls.

Advocate Sumeet Pushkarna, appearing for Delhi state Election Commission, opposed the petition saying there was a legal bar to their demand as only four days were left for holding the elections in the national capital.

"There is a speculative news of EVMs being hacked, which is totally false. MCD election at this stage cannot be interfered with or stalled," the state poll panel said, adding that these were the same EVMs used in the last assembly polls when the AAP came into power in Delhi.


Advocate Kushal Kumar, appearing for North Delhi Municipal Corporation, also objected to the maintainability of the petition filed by the AAP and its candidate Hussain who is contesting from ward number 59E of East Delhi.

The petitioners have strongly opposed the use of machines sourced from Rajasthan for the MCD election. Recently, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also demanded withdrawal of the allegedly tampered EVMs brought from Rajasthan for the MCD polls and said only VVPAT equipped voting machines should be used.

During the course of the arguments, the AAP submitted that there were around 15,000 VVPAT machines available with the Election Commission of India which was sufficient for the conduct of the municipal election.


It also submitted that the Supreme Court has categorically said that all elections should be held with VVPAT machines.

The petitioner sought to know why the commission did not make an attempt to procure the VVPAT machines. Challenging the decision of the state Election Commssion to conduct the MCD election using Generation-1 EVMs, the petitioners contended that on four occassions in the past two years, during the pre-election trials, it was discovered that

EVMs were tampered with to cast votes only for candidates of the BJP, regardless of any button being pressed on the machine.

Tags: election commission, delhi high court, electronic voting machines (evms), mcd polls, vvpat equipments
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi