The Gujarat high court has issued notice to the state government on a petition challenging e-voting which it plans to introduce in the local bodies elections to be held later this year.
The petition filed by Congress leaders Himmatsinh Patel and Sailesh Parmar has prayed for scrapping of online voting.
Division bench of Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and K M Thakar also issued notices to the State Elections Commission and has kept the next hearing of the case on August 2.
The State Government in a notification dated June 5 2010 had amended the relevant rules to make way for online voting in local bodies poll.
The petition said that the system of online voting through internet or SMS by mobile would result in large scale electoral malpractices and thereby influence the result of the elections.
Petition further submitted that e-voting is against the principles of free and fair elections as envisaged under the Constitution of India and secrecy of ballot which is an adjunct to free and fair elections.
The petition further submitted that when a voter exercises his right to vote on internet or by SMS, it is not possible to know whether he is independently exercising his right or if he is surrounded by the agents of the contestant.
Congress leaders further contended that voting through internet is not safe and reliable as experienced in some of the developed countries.
They submitted that there is every possibility of phishing of website whereby an alternative similar website is created. That the voters would virtually feel that they have actually cast the vote online, but the same would not reach the database of the actual website.
It argued that even the database collected by the official website can be interfered with, modified or changed which can result in large scale election fraud and manipulation.
The state government at the time of introduction of e-voting had said the purpose behind introduction of online voting is to make affluent class people vote, who generally avoid going to polling booths and stand in long queues to vote.