Gujarat High Court seeks details of EVM, e-voters

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

GANDHINAGAR - The Gujarat High Court, hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) against introduction of online voting in local self-government bodies polls, has sought details of voters who cast ballot through the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and e-voting.

In details available Wednesday, a bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice Anant Dave, allowing the state government and others to file affidavit in this regard, sought to know the method the state election commission or the presiding officer adopted for supervising the voting.

Two Congress leaders of Ahmedabad had filed the PIL against the state government’s decision to amend the provisions of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation (BPMC) Act and introduce online voting. Former city mayor Himmatsinh Patel and another Congress leader in their petition claimed that such amendment was against constitutional provisions.

According to the PIL, the election process has to be free and fair and the ballot has to be secret in any election. They alleged that recent amendments made to the BPMC Act were in violation of the constitutional mandate.

They also feared that the privacy of e-vote would be compromised in absence of any safeguard to it. “There is no safeguard to make sure that the person has voted in isolation and as per his own wish,” the petitioners contended.

The petitioners pointed out the possibilities of virus attacks that could vitiate the entire database of e-votes and result in a major election fraud.

Following the petition, the court issued notices to the respondents - the state of Gujarat, the chief secretary of the state urban development department and the chief election officer of the state election commission.

The matter is slated to come up Dec 15.

Gujarat became the first state in India to introduce online voting when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation polls were held this month.

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