The Opposition parties and their sympathizers have initiated a tirade against EVMs after exit polls hinted at Narendra Modi’s re-election for a second term as Prime Minister. Despite the Election Commission of India issuing several clarifications and several individuals offering their reassurances about the integrity of EVMs, the ‘Compulsive Contrarians’ are carrying on with their motivated agenda.
Therefore, it is pertinent to highlight what the Courts of the country have said on the matter. On numerous occasions, the integrity of EVMs has been questioned in the Courts. The Madras High Court in 2001, the Kerala High Court in 2002, the Karnataka High Court in 2004, the Uttarakhand High Court in 2017, the Supreme Court in 2018, the Bombay High Court in 2017 are just some of the occasions when the Courts have heard petitions on the matter. And on every single occasion, the Courts have vouched for the integrity of the EVMs.
The Madras High Court observed, “There is also no question of introducing any virus or bugs for the reason that the EVMs cannot be compared to personal computers. The programming in computers, as suggested, has no bearing with the EVMs. The computer would have inherent limitations having connections through Internet and by their very design, they may allow the alteration of the programme but the EVMs are independent units and the programme in EVM is entirely a different system.”
In a judgment in June 2017, the Uttarakhand High Court observed, “Prima facie, it is evident from a combined reading of the entire press release of ECI that this system is safe. The EVMs are not hackable. There cannot be any manipulation at the manufacturing stage. The results cannot be altered by activating a Trojan Horse through a sequence of key presses. The ECI-EVMs cannot be physically tampered with. The EVMs use some of the microcontrollers, dynamic coding of key codes, date and time stamping of each and every key press etc. These EVMs also cannot be tampered with during the course of transportation or at the place of storage. There are checks and balances to ensure tamper-proofing of EVMs”.
The Supreme Court, in judgment just two months later on a bunch of petitions demanding the 100% use of VVPATs, said, “the above statement of the Election Commission of India contained in the counter affidavit acknowledges, that all prayers made in the group of petitions stand fulfilled and satisfied. It is also apparent, that the Government of India has sanctioned funds for the purchase of the VVPAT units, needed during the course of the elections, which are to take place in the immediate future. The position expressed leaves no room for any doubt, that all future elections will be held by using VVPAT. The above stance is reiterated during the course of hearing by the learned counsel representing the Election Commission of India. In view of the above, we are of the considered view that the present bunch of matters does not require any further adjudication at our hands. All the cases clubbed together, are accordingly disposed of in terms of the counter affidavit filed by the Election Commission of India, duly supported by the Government of India”.
The Bombay High Court was unambiguous in its judgment as well. It stated, “the Bombay High Court ordered a detailed forensic examination of the EVMs from CFSL, Hyderabad for checking any manipulation etc. The CFSL report clearly ruled out any tampering, alteration or manipulation in the EVMs. The said report was accepted by Hon’ble High Court and the petition was dismissed.”
The Karnataka High Court had once observed, “This invention (EVMs) is undoubtedly
a great achievement in the electronic and computer technology and a
Thus, it’s quite clear from Judicial judgments that the integrity of the EVMs has never been in doubt in the eyes of the Courts. Furthermore, as is quite clear, the integrity of the EVMs is always questioned only by the parties on the losing side of the battle. This phenomenon was observed when the UPA was winning elections and the same thing is observed now that the BJP is on the driver’s seat.
Therefore, in light of the fact that various institutions of the state machinery have vouched for the integrity of the EVMs, and also individuals closely associated with its functioning, the matter ought to be put to rest. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition to match 100% of VVPATs with EVMs, expressing their anger that such a matter was even raised. One Congress leader reacted to it by accusing the Supreme Court of rigging the polls.
Undermining the legitimacy of the Indian elections is the greatest threat that the Indian Democracy faces. The Congress party, with its history of undermining democracy in the country through measures such as the Emergency, is again proving to be a grave threat to it.