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‘EVMs In Use In Elections Comply With Legal Framework’: EC To Opposition

EC’s response has come in the backdrop of multiple letters sent by members of the INDIA bloc raising concerns about the integrity of the machines.

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Election Commission of India
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The Election Commission (EC) has told Congress leader Jairam Ramesh that the current Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in use in elections comply with the legal framework strengthened by successive Union governments.

EC’s response has come in the backdrop of multiple letters sent by members of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc raising concerns about the integrity of the machines.

The 28-party INDIA bloc had submitted a memorandum to the poll panel on August 9, 2023 raising questions over the use of EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs). 

The bloc followed it up with four letters in the same month to meet with the EC. 

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On December 30, Congress’s Jairam Ramesh had also sent a letter on the issue and sought a meeting.

The EC, however, recently updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section on EVMs on its website from 76 to 85 to answer some of the questions, but did not address the specific concerns raised by the parties.

The EC responded to Ramesh on saying:“It is stated that current EVMs in use in Indian election are compliant to the extant legal framework created and strengthened by the successive Union Government of the day and jurisprudence evolved over more than 40 years by the Constitutional Courts of India. Anything beyond existing legal framework and established jurisprudence is beyond the singular domain of the Commission,” the letter signed by principal secretary Pramod Kumar Sharma said.

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Sharma also said that the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court, in three different cases against use of EVMs and VVPATs, had dismissed the petitions and imposed cost on the petitioner for filing frivolous applications.

On December 19, the INDIA bloc passed a resolution raising concerns around the integrity of EVMs and asked the EC to allow all voters to verify their VVPAT slips. They had suggested, “Instead of the VVPAT slip falling in the box, it should be handed over to the voter who shall then place it in a separate ballot box after having verified his or her choice. 100% counting of VVPAT slips should then be done.”

The poll body subsequently increased the number of its FAQs around EVMs to answer some of the questions about properties of the VVPAT slips, why and when they were included, tracing the origin of the VVPAT slips, and what happens when the VVPAT or the control unit are run out of battery during voting.

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