SC to hear plea for providing printout of votes in EVMs

The Supreme Court Thursday said it would attach priority to the hearing of a petition seeking provision of printouts for the recording of votes in electronic voting machines (EVMs) at the time of casting them during elections.

A bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said they will hear the matter on priority basis so that they could pronounce the order well before the next general election likely to take place in May 2014.

This means that in case, the court decides to direct some steps, then the Election Commission will have sufficient time to put them in place before the 2014 polls.

The court’s order came in the course of the submission by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy who contended that the recording of the votes on the print-out was necessary because EVMs were not tamper-proof.

The court was told that a number of developed countries which were earlier using the EVMs have gone back to ballot paper system of casting votes during elections.

The Janata Party president also argued that the software being used in the EVMs by the Election Commission was made by the foreign private companies and was susceptible to hacking.

He said that if Election Commission had any problem with the technology dimension for making provision for print outs, then he was available for advising and assisting it.

The court was told that in Sivaganga, the Lok Sabha constituency of union minister P. Chidambram, there could not be a recount as there was no printed record of the votes exercised, and the EVM would show the same result as it had indicated earlier.

Swamy said that in some Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidates did not get even one vote in certain polling booths, contending this was not possible because being a party of committed cadre, they have supporters all over who vote for the party.

The matter will next be heard Sep 27, when senior counsel Ashok Desai will argue for the Election Commission.