Tamil Nadu

Civic polls: HC seeks details on availability of EVMs

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The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the State Election Commission to provide details regarding availability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) with it so as to decide on pleas to use them in local body polls.

A Division Bench of Justices Huluvadi G. Ramesh and R. Ravichandrabaabu passed the direction on a batch of three writ petitions moved by the DMK and the PMK seeking to implement reservation on rotation basis for civic polls, use of EVMs in all the local body elections, deployment of central government staff for poll duty.

When the pleas came up for hearing, Advocate General R. Muthukumaraswamy submitted that use of EVMs could not be insisted upon unless it is mandated by the Rules.

“For panchayats, there is no Rule requiring deployment of EVMs. Also the term of the present local bodies in Tamil Nadu cannot be extended beyond October 24, and a poll notification for them will be issued in the second or third week of this month.

Earlier, senior counsel for petitioner R. Shanmugasundaram contended that the number of EVMs required for Tamil Nadu would not be more than four to five lakh, as the State government had decided not to hold direct election to the post of Mayor, Chairperson, and President of local bodies.

To this, B. Kumar, senior counsel for the State Election Commission, submitted that 66,500 EVMs had been kept ready to be used in the local body election.

Voters in urban local bodies need to cast only one vote, but those in rural local bodies have to cast four votes. This would require four times the number of EVMs planned to be put in use as of now, he added.

He further stated that as a pilot project Kanniyakumari district had been chosen for full EVM use on an experimental basis.

The Bench directed the Commission to provide details of reserved segments and the proposed rotation of reserved segments, which is mandatory once in 10 years, by Friday afternoon.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 6:55:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Civic-polls-HC-seeks-details-on-availability-of-EVMs/article14628895.ece

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