Penal provision necessary to avoid frivolous complaints against VVPAT: EC

The Election Commission on Monday said the penal provision for a voter making any false allegation about VVPAT displaying wrong result was necessary to prevent frivolous complaints.

Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain said it usually took more than 20 minutes for poll officials to address a complaint of VVPAT showing wrong result. A series of such complaints could even sabotage the election process.

The Commission has so far received three such complaints, one each from Gujarat and Kerala and another from a former DGP in Assam. While the first two complaints were found to be incorrect, the former DGP refused to give a declaration that he would be penalised if his complaint turned out to be false.

The EC’s assertion came on a day when the Supreme Court sought its response to a petition seeking decriminalisation of the related provision, Rule 49MA of the Conduct of Elections Rules.

As provided, any person making a claim about the malfunction after casting his vote has to make a declaration, after which the person is allowed to cast a “test” vote. If the allegation is false, a case under Section 177 of the IPC is made out. It prescribes simple imprisonment for a term extending to six months, or with fine of ₹1,000, or both.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 4:24:21 PM |

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