The Election Commission on Tuesday asked the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against a self-proclaimed cyber expert for his claims that the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were rigged and the EVMs can be hacked.
In its letter, the EC said Syed Shuja has allegedly violated section 505 (1) of the IPC pertaining to spreading rumours which creates panic.
The EC asked the police to “investigate promptly” the statement made by Shuja yesterday at an event in London that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be tampered with and that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were rigged.
The Supreme Court today sought a response from the Election Commission on a PIL seeking investigation by software experts into allegations that Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) were tampered with in the recent Assembly polls.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul issued notice to the poll panel on the plea that alleged that EVMs, used by the Election Commission for conducting polls, can easily be tampered with.
The PIL filed by Advocate M L Sharma in his personal capacity had also sought a direction to the Centre for registering an FIR to investigate the alleged tampering of EVMs “for vested interest by a political party and to file their report before the apex court”.
However, the court did not issue notice to the Centre and others mentioned in the PIL.
The plea sought examination of the “quality, software/ malware and hacking effect in the EVMs from a reliable electronic lab/scientist and software expert and to file their report before this court for further action/prosecution”.
The petitioner referred to allegations of EVM tampering in the recent assembly elections in five states and Maharashtra civic polls.
The PIL claimed that it was admitted by the poll panel itself that EVMs are tamper-proof only until their technical, mechanical and software details remain a secret.
“These details can be detected via reverse engineering by any expert. Wireless device/software can be prepared via reverse engineering, and with their help voting records can be changed in any location and at any time,” the plea claimed.
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.