Supreme Court Orders Probe into Alleged EVM Manipulation During Kerala Mock Poll

Election Commission directed to investigate reports of extra votes recorded in favor of BJP, highlighting concerns over electoral integrity.

In a significant development, the Supreme Court of India has directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to investigate allegations of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) manipulation during a mock poll conducted in Kerala. The directive came during the hearing of the EVM-VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) case, where a report regarding the EVM issue was brought to the court’s attention.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the Association for Democratic Reforms, referred to a report published by Manorama Online regarding complaints raised during the mock polls conducted on EVMs in the Kasargod constituency of Kerala. According to the report, both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) alleged that at least four EVMs erroneously registered extra votes in favor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

During the hearing, a bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta passed an oral direction to Maninder Singh, representing the Election Commission, to investigate the matter. Justice Khanna specifically instructed Singh to look into the entire process of VVPAT calibration, the involvement of candidate representatives, and mechanisms to ensure there is no tampering with the voting machines.

The bench, which is hearing petitions seeking 100% verification of VVPAT slips, raised several pertinent questions regarding the functioning and security measures of the EVM-VVPAT system. They sought clarification on the software and hardware mechanisms involved in the voting process, as well as the accountability of those responsible for its maintenance and operation.

Additionally, the court emphasized the importance of maintaining the sanctity of the electoral process, ensuring transparency, and addressing any concerns or discrepancies promptly. They underscored the need for accountability and stringent safeguards to prevent any potential tampering or manipulation of the voting machines.

The hearing, which commenced at 11 AM, saw intense discussions between the counsels representing various parties and the Election Commission officials. Issues such as the storage and transportation of EVMs, the conduct of mock polls, and the verification and counting procedures for VVPAT slips were thoroughly examined.

As the bench rose for a lunch break, it was evident that the Supreme Court remains committed to upholding the integrity of the electoral process and addressing any challenges or irregularities that may arise. The directive to investigate the allegations of EVM manipulation underscores the court’s proactive approach in ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections in the country.

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