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Delhi High Court Issues Notice On Aam Aadmi Party's Plea To Conduct Upcoming MCD Polls Using EVMs With VVPAT

Nupur Thapliyal
24 March 2022 1:45 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Issues Notice On Aam Aadmi Partys Plea To Conduct Upcoming MCD Polls Using EVMs With VVPAT
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice on the plea filed by Aam Aadmi Party through it's MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj seeking directions on State Election Commission to conduct the upcoming MCD polls using EVMs (Electronic Voting Machine) with VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail). Justice Rekha Palli sought response of State Election Commission and Election Commission of India while...

The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice on the plea filed by Aam Aadmi Party through it's MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj seeking directions on State Election Commission to conduct the upcoming MCD polls using EVMs (Electronic Voting Machine) with VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail).

Justice Rekha Palli sought response of State Election Commission and Election Commission of India while posting the matter for further hearing on April 7.

The Court asked both the respondents to file a detailed response clarifying as to whether M-2 EVMs are compatible for use with VVPAT machines or not.

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra appearing for the petitioner Aam Aadmi Party said that while the MCD polls were upcoming, the State Election Commission had not yet developed its own infrastructure despite the Supreme Court order.

On the other hand, Advocate Sumeet Pushkarna representing State Election Commission argued that the case of Delhi is different from that of other states. He submitted that since Delhi has to only conduct municipal polls, EVM machines are taken from ECI.

Senior Advocate Maninder Singh appearing for Election Commission of India argued that the petition was not maintainable and that ECI had already provided over 60,000 M-2 EVMs to the State government as per its demand.

The Court was hearing a plea moved through Advocate Rakesh Kumar Sinha stating that EVM's without VVPAT machines make it almost impossible to ascertain the accuracy of the machines and rule out any sort of tampering.

In this backdrop, the plea avers that the use of the old M-2EVM's without VVPAT are in contravention of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Subramanian Swamy v. Election Commission of India, (2013) 10 SCC 500, wherein it was recognized that the incorporation and implementation of a system of paper trail in EVMs is an indispensable requirement of a free and fair elections.

The plea adds that the decision of State Election Commission to hold the upcoming MCD Elections with M-2 EVMs without VVPAT is manifestly wrong and amounts to a colourable exercise of power.

"This raises genuine apprehension about the sanctity of the entire electoral process. This decision has been conveyed in the reply to the Petitioner's representation dated 02.03.2022 made to the Respondent No. 1 to use the EVMs compatible with the VVPATs," the plea states.

The plea also states that the Election Commission of India cannot escape from its responsibility in the free and fair conduct of the Delhi Municipal Elections and that it has sufficient numbers of EVMs of the latest version at its disposal.

"There is no Assembly Election slated after 7th March 2022 anywhere in the country. As such there is no hassle for them to loan out these new generation EVMs, compatible to VVPAT, to the SEC Delhi for conducting the MCD Elections 2022," the plea adds.

Case Title: AAM AADMI PARTY (THROUGH SAURABH BHARDWAJ, MLA) v. STATE ELECTION COMMISSION AND ANR

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