'EVMs illegally being used for a decade' "Legal Research Paper
Author:: Ajay Jagga, Advocate High Court (India)
CHANDIGARH: The electronic voting machines (EVMs) are being used in violation of the Information Technology Act 2000, a research paper has revealed.
Author of the research paper, advocate Ajay Jagga, said that as per IT Act, 2000, a verifiable audit trail has to be provided in case of any electronic record, which is now admissible as evidence as per Evidence Act but in case of electronic voting, the voter does not get any receipt with regard to his voting.
The research paper recently attracted the attention of experts when a conference on "EVMs: How trustworthy?" in Chennai passed a unanimous resolution on February 13, to approach the Election Commission of India (ECI) for bringing the electronic voting procedure in tune with IT Act, 2000.
Jagga said he would soon approach ECI seeking formation of legal committee to remove the illegality or will knock the doors of court.
The lawyer said, "Unless the voter gets a receipt like the one we get in ATM or after the use of debit or credit cards, all electronic transactions including a vote, are illegal." What is the evidence that the vote cast has really been recorded and that it has been recorded in the manner the voter intended, he asked.
For the purpose and to protect the secrecy of ballot, all such receipts, after the voter has checked his transaction, should be put in a box which should remain with ECI to be produced as evidence in case of a dispute, he said. The government amended the relevant laws in 1989 to equate EVM with ballot and ballot box to facilitate transition from ballot paper to EVM but the IT Act 2000 created a new complication that has to be immediately resolved in the interest of fairness of things, Jagga pointed out.
The voter comes across only things, after pressing the button of EVM or voting ie a beep and a flash but what has happened inside the machine or what has happened to the data is not known to the voter. This is the issues which violates the I T Act 2000 and Indian Evidence Act 1872 and thats why the receipt is mandatory so that the voter can verify that the data has been sent and received in the same format or according to his or her own wish.
The lawyer also proved that the machine can be tampered with which has been accepted by the government itself in its letter to withdraw patent applications filed by Electronics Corporation of India and Bharat Electronics Ltd, makers of the machine. The PSUs withdrew their patent applications on the ground that the machine may not be tamper-proof, he said adding that Germany had to return to ballot paper after their machines were found wanting.