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Delhi HC issues notice to ECI on AAP's plea seeking to conduct MCD polls with EVMs

The EVMs are compatible with VVPAT.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: March 24, 2022 21:56 IST
election commission of india, aam aadmi party, delhi, municipal polls, delhi mcd, aap kejriwal, evms
Image Source : PTI

AAP supporters during party convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's roadshow for MCD by-elections in New Delhi

Highlights

  • Delhi HC issued a notice to ECI on AAP's plea seeking to conduct MCD polls with EVMs.
  • The EVMs are compatible with VVPAT.
  • The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 7.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Delhi State Election commission on a plea moved by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking direction to conduct an upcoming municipal corporations (MCD) polls with EVMs. 

The EVMs are compatible with VVPAT. 

Justice Rekha Palli issued notices to the two election bodies and asked them to file detailed affidavits making it clear whether M-2 EVMs are compatible with VVPAT or not.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 7.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the ECI, said the petition was not maintainable and they have already provided over 60,000 M-2 EVMs to the state as per demand.

He said each state election commission (SEC) is aware that they have to make their own infrastructure but Delhi has not done anything.

However, advocate Sumeet Pushkarna, appearing for Delhi State EC, said Delhi’s case is different from other states and Delhi has to only conduct municipal polls, which is why they take EVMs from ECI.

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing petitioner AAP, said the MCD elections are round the corner and the state EC has not developed its own infrastructure despite there being a Supreme Court order in this regard.

The high court was hearing the petition by AAP, through MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, seeking direction to Delhi SEC to conduct the upcoming MCD polls with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which are compatible with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and not without them.

It had earlier asked the ECI to inform whether VVPAT system can be used only with M-3 EVMs and if they can be made available to Delhi SEC for conducting the municipal elections.

The counsel for State EC had submitted that VVPAT is used only in General elections and Legislative Assembly polls and as a matter of policy, the EC is using M-2 EVMs Pan India for municipal polls.

While M-2 EVM stands for 2nd generation Electronic Voting Machines, M-3 is 3rd generation Electronic Voting Machines.

The petitioner party, in the plea filed through advocate Rakesh Kumar Sinha, said the EVMs without VVPAT machines make it almost impossible to ascertain the accuracy of the machines and rule out any tampering.

“The use of the old M-2 EVMs without VVPAT are in contravention of the express directions issued by the Supreme Court in Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India, (2013), which emphatically recognised that the incorporation and implementation of a system of paper trail in EVMs is an indispensable requirement of a free and fair elections,” the plea said.

It alleged that the decision of the SEC to hold the MCD Elections 2022 with M-2 EVMs without VVPAT is manifestly wrong and amounts to a colourable exercise of power.

This raises genuine apprehension about the sanctity of the entire electoral process, it said, adding that this decision has been conveyed in the reply to the party's March 2, 2022 representation made to the authorities to use the EVMs compatible with the VVPATs.

“As such the respondent no. 1 (State EC) has apparently violated the constitutional guarantee of elections being free, fair and impartial,” it alleged.

(with PTI inputs)

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