The Delhi high court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking direction to the Election Commission to stop the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and return to ballot papers for the upcoming elections in the country. The high court bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh imposed a fine of ₹10,000 on the petitioner, CR Jaya Sukin, a lawyer.
The bench said that the petition filed by Sukin was a "publicity interest litigation" based on hearsay and "baseless allegations and averments". The court said there was no reason to entertain the writ petition as the petitioner had no concrete argument on the working of the EVM.
The court noted that the writ petition was based on four documents, one of which was a news item. The other documents pertained to his representation and plea before the Supreme Court. The court said that the petitioner has not looked at the working of the EVM, which the Election Commission or the Parliament approves. The judges also asked Jaya Sukin to file a fresh petition on the issue once he has conducted research.
"The writ petition is dismissed with costs of ₹10,000 to be deposited in four weeks towards Delhi State Legal Services Authority," the court said, as per Hindustan Times.
Democracy In Danger: Claims Petition
The petitioner, Sukin, who appeared in person, claimed that the EVMs are prone to hacks, and the use of EVMs put the democracy of the country in danger. Advocate Sidhant Kumar, representing the Election Commission, said that different courts in the country have already looked into the case and have decided the issue.
Sukin also told the court that several countries, like Japan and the USA, have reverted to the ballot system and stopped using EVMs for their election process. Sukin cited the example of the USA and told the court that they make their own EVMs, yet they preferred ballot system in their election in November 2020, even in the middle of a pandemic.
Ballot Papers Claimed To Be More Reliable
The petition filed by Sukin said that Article 324 of the Constitution stated that Election Commission needs to conduct a free and fair election and reflect the will of the voters. The petition further asserted that voting through ballot papers is more reliable and transparent.
In India, the use of the EVM always comes under scrutiny whenever there is an election. Many people claim that the EVMs can be easily hacked to show favourable results for a particular political party. The Election Commission has repeatedly dismissed such claims.
However, the commission has approved the use of VVPAT, which stands for voter-verifiable paper audit trail, to ensure transparency in the election process carried out by EVMs. The EC even organized a hackathon in 2017 to end the debate over the devices. The Election Commission is using the EVMs since 1982.