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Supreme Court questions suspicions about voting machines

02:22 AM Apr 25, 2024 IST | IANS
supreme court questions suspicions about voting machines
Supreme Court orders Patanjali to publish prominent apologies in newspapers for misleading ads --- File Photo
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New Delhi, Apr 24: The Supreme Court, presided over by a bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, deliberated over petitions urging the implementation of measures to cross-check Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with votes registered through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during elections.

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During the proceedings, the Court raised a crucial query regarding the feasibility of issuing directives concerning EVMs based solely on suspicions of tampering, in the absence of concrete evidence. The bench underscored the need for solid proof before considering any intervention.

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Petitions before the Court questioned the integrity of EVMs and sought assurance of their hack-proof nature. However, the Election Commission of India (ECI) provided reassurance that the flash memory of Microcontrollers in EVMs remains unalterable.

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The bench also sought clarity on several technical aspects from the ECI, including the installation and programmability of microcontrollers and the availability of symbol loading units. Responding to these queries, the ECI emphasized the security measures in place and refuted claims of re-programmability of microcontrollers.

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Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing one petitioner, contested the ECI's assertion, alleging the re-programmability of flash memory in Micro Control Units. However, the Court sought clarification from the ECI, which reiterated the non-reprogrammability of flash memory.

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Amidst these technical discussions, the Court deliberated on the necessity of strengthening the current EVM system, ruling out a return to the use of ballot papers. The bench hinted at the possibility of issuing directions to bolster the existing framework.

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The hearing, marked by detailed technical exchanges and legal arguments, underlined the complexities surrounding EVMs and the challenges in addressing concerns while ensuring electoral integrity. The Court reserved its verdict, signalling a forthcoming decision on the matter.

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Tallying of VVPAT slips with EVM has remained a contentious issue, with political parties and activists advocating for increased transparency and verification measures. The Court's deliberations reflect the ongoing efforts to balance technological advancements with electoral accountability, amidst persistent scepticism surrounding EVMs.

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