The Supreme Court on Monday sought the stand of the Union government and the Election Commission (EC) on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy's plea to either incorporate paper printouts with the electronic voting machines (EVM) or restore paper balloting, as the machines were “not tamper-proof.”
Issuing notice to the Centre and the EC, a Bench of Justices P. Sathavisam and J. Chelameswar sought replies on Dr. Swamy's plea, which challenged the Delhi High Court's order dismissing his petition on the issue. Dr. Swamy also submitted a list of several western and European countries where similar methods for printouts for EVMs are being used during elections.
On January 17, the High Court refused to issue directions to the EC on Dr. Swamy's plea. It said, “It is difficult for this court to direct the Election Commission to have a paper trail of elections conducted through EVMs.” The Bench, however, suggested that the Commission could hold wider consultations with the executive, political parties and other stakeholders on the matter.
The High Court disposed of the plea, saying Dr. Swamy himself had not alleged any misuse or tampering of the current system but maintained that the possibility of such an incident cannot be ruled out.
Dr. Swamy had sought directions to the EC that a paper trail be incorporated to record the votes cast through EVMs or the old system of paper ballots be brought back. He had claimed that EVMs were not tamper proof and lacked transparency.
Countries such as the U.K., the U.S. and Japan had rejected EVMs due to their “failure” and preferred paper ballots for elections, Dr. Swamy had said.