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Controversy over EVM UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • The Supreme Court upheld the electronic voting machine (EVM) system of polling and refused a plea to revive paper ballots

  • The court said that “blind distrust” of an institution or a system breeds unwarranted scepticism and impedes progress

  • The court refused the petitioners’ suggestion that paper slips from Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units be handed over to electors to take a leisurely look before inserting them into the ballot boxes

  • It further dismissed the plea by the petitioners for cross-verification of all EVMs and VVPATs across the country. 

  • Now, only 5% of EVM-VVPAT counts are randomly verified in any constituency.

  • While the court acknowledge the fundamental right of voters to ensure their vote is accurately recorded and counted, the same cannot be equated with the right to 100% counting of VVPAT slips or a right to physical access to the VVPAT slips

  • The court refused to strike down Rule 49 MA of the Conduct of Election Rules, which exposes a voter to penal proceedings under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code for submission of false information if his complaint of mismatch between the votes cast and votes counted is not proved

  • One among the two directions given by the Court address that the symbol loading units be secured and kept in safe custody for 45 days after declaration of results

  • The court also directed that the ‘burnt’ or uploaded memory of the microcontrollers of 5% of EVMs can be checked and verified by a team of engineers from the EVM manufacturers in case of any suspicion of tampering.

  • Such an exercise would be initiated on the basis of a written request from candidates who have come second or third in the vote tally

  • The application for verification should be sent within seven days of the declaration of the election results. 

  • The District Election Officer concerned, in consultation with the team of engineers, should verify the authenticity or intactness of the burnt memory of the microcontrollers of the EVMs. 

  • The expenses of the verification will be undertaken by the applicant candidates or their representatives. 

  • They will be refunded in case it is found that the EVMs have been tampered with

  • The Supreme Court on Friday said a return to paper ballots will bring back the evils of yesteryear, mainly booth-capturing, and it was anyway impossible to pre-programme electronic voting machines (EVMs) in a spurious manner

  • The EVMs have effectively eliminated booth capturing by restricting the rate of vote casting to four votes per minute, thereby prolonging the time needed and thus checking insertion of bogus votes

  • Further, it noted that EVMs reduce paper usage and alleviate logistical challenges

  • Finally, they provide administrative convenience by expediting the counting process and minimising errors

Trust in Machines

  • The Supreme Court of India’s rejection of the demand for 100% verification of the paper trail left by the votes cast through electronic voting machines is no surprise, as there is no hard evidence that the current verification system suffers from any irremediable lacuna

  • The introduction of a paper audit trail itself was in response to apprehensions that voters had no way of ascertaining if their votes were recorded correctly. 

  • It is somewhat ironical that the verification system put in place to address such fears itself has become a bone of contention as to the extent to which the paper trail has to be verified


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Controversy over EVM UPSC NOTE
Controversy over EVM UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
https://www.learnerz.in/2024/04/controversy-over-evm-upsc-note.html
https://www.learnerz.in/
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https://www.learnerz.in/2024/04/controversy-over-evm-upsc-note.html
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