Skip to main content

Is electronic voting machine not foolproof? 'Switch over to ballot box', says People's Union of Civil Liberties

By Our Representative
Close on the heels of massive setback to the Congress in four states’ assembly elections, top human rights organization, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), which claims to “preserve the democratic values”, has made a controversial observation: That the electronic voting machine (EVM) is “not foolproof for free and fair polling process” and there is no sense in “rigidly sticking to it in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections”. Opining in favour of returning to the old ballot box voting system, the PUCL said, if this is not possible then it is not necessary to organize the forthcoming elections with the dual system of polling – voting through the EVM and the ballot box.
Asserting that the observation is based on an investigation by a group of experts – consisting of Rahul Mehta, who is B Tech in computer science, IIT Delhi , and MS in computer science, Rutgers, New Jersey State University; Balendu Vaghela, computer technologist from Rajkot; Raju Dipti, who are masters in engineering; and Mahesh Pandya, an environmental engineer -- the PUCL stated these members found the working of the EVMs faulting after scrutinized whether the EVMs being used in the election process in India immune or above any kind of doubts; whether the EVMs are technically satisfactory and defect-free or foolproof; and whether there is possibility of tampering with the EVMs on a large scale.
Without suggesting the EVMs in the latest assembly polls may have been “manipulated”, the PUCL claimed, this happened in the December 2012 elections to the Gujarat legislature, after which doubts about credibility of EVM were expressed from all over and we had also received wide ranging complaints. “Some complaints were based on the experience and some complaints were of such a nature that it was not possible to rationally and logically reply. Some complaints were based on the analysis of results but were having substance in them “, it added.
Suggesting that it in this backdrop that the experts were asked to look into the veracity of the EVMs, the PUCL said, the findings and recommendation put forth by them were:
“(1) The EVM method is such that even the voter does not know in whose favor he is casting his vote. Hence for free and just polling, it is inevitable to go back to the system of voting by the back to ballot.
“(2) The fact that the Election Commission has admitted that there is scope for improvement in the present system, proves that the system is not foolproof.
(3) Every citizen of the country has a right to know whether the polling process being carried on by the autonomous body such as Election Commission is impartial, credible and foolproof or not. In this context, when these questions are raised at different stages, instead of giving clear and proper replies, the Election Commission is giving round-about and defensive replies.”
Wondering why the Election Commission is not ready and willing to offer EVMs for scientific scrutiny by impartial experts in the electronic field, knowledgeable persons in this line and other experts to prove that the same are tamper-proof and foolproof and thus to prove its credibility and answerability, the PUCL says, “In the countries such as Germany and other countries, governments have indeed done this.” It adds, “Many countries of the world do not consider the EVM as reliable. Then why is there adamant and stubborn insistence for its use in India?”
The PUCL said, “The study of EVM was carried out for California State of America. On seeing that the result was negative, ban on use of EVM for election purposes was imposed by the California government. Not only in California, use of EVM was banned in 21 other states of America. This has also been the case in Europe and other countries from where India had learned of this kind of method. These countries are also opposing it then we must learn from it and it is inevitable for us to go back to the polling by back to ballot paper method.”
The PUCL further said, “When a case was filed in the Supreme Court against the Election Commission by raising doubts about credibility of the EVM, then later on, the Election Commission admitted and confessed about the defect and advanced a contention/ claim that new types of EVMs have been got ready. But to bring the same into implementation and looking to the need of the time, energy and finances there does not appear to be any possibility of using it during the parliamentary elections for 2014.”
The statement was released by Gautam Thaker, general secretary, PUCL, Gujarat. It is not known if the central PUCL agrees with this view. When queried, Thaker said, “We are trying to convince the national PUCL leaders about what we believe on EVM.”

Comments

TRENDING

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Skewed sex ratio 'behind' ban on rural Thakor girls' mobile use, inter-caste marriage

By Jharna Pathak*
On July 14, 2019, the Thakor community of 12 villages of Banaskantha district in Gujarat announced a ban on the use of mobile phones by unmarried women. Simultaneously, they imposed penalties on inter-caste marriages. The family of any girl of the community marrying without the consent of her parents would now be fined Rs 1.5 lakh while that of a boy marrying a girl from other community without his family’s consent would be penalised with a fine of Rs 2 lakh.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

J&K curbs 'violate' International Covenant on civil, political rights: Letter to Modi

Counterview Desk
The International Federation for Human Rights (IFDH), a Paris-based human rights NGO with global presence, has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the decision to “reconfigurate” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), remove its special status and impose a “complete lock-down of the region” violates Kashmiris’ “fundamental right to self-determination and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives.”

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.