3 Aug 2021 10:23 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has dismissed with Rs. 10,000 cost a plea seeking directions on the Election Commission of India to stop using electronic voting machines (EVMs) and use ballot papers instead, in all forthcoming elections. A division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh dismissed the petition filed by Advocate CR Jaya Sukin after observing that it was...
The Delhi High Court has dismissed with Rs. 10,000 cost a plea seeking directions on the Election Commission of India to stop using electronic voting machines (EVMs) and use ballot papers instead, in all forthcoming elections.
A division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh dismissed the petition filed by Advocate CR Jaya Sukin after observing that it was filed without doing any research or having any concrete finding regarding the functioning of EVMs.
"Having heard the party in person at length and looking to the facts and circumstances of the case, we're of the view that this is not a public interest litigation at all. This is a publicity interest litigation."
Furthermore, it said:
"Everything is based upon hearsay. No research work has veen done by petitioner. On the basis of such type of averments and allegations without any basis, we're not inclined to issue notice."
However, the Court granted liberty to the petitioner to file a fresh petition with proper averments, annexures and research into the aforesaid issue.
The development came after Advocate CR Jaya Sukin appearing as petitioner in person argued at length before the Court. Sukin began by arguing that liberty was given to him by the Supreme Court to approach the High Court for raising his grievance regarding EVMs.
Reliance was also placed on news items to argue that foreign countries like France, Germany etc. do not use EVM machines. It was also argued that the German Supreme Court had declared the use of EVMs as unconstitutional.
"In India, political leaders and other social organisations have no confidence in EVMs. Only election commission has confidence in EVMs." He submitted.
However, the Court objected to the fact that no research was done by the petitioner in filing a public interest litigation and that mere media reports were relied upon by him.
"It appears from the arguments of the petitioner that he has no knowledge of EVM machines at all. Only by reading some news items, petition has been preferred." The Court observed at the outset.
The Court also took note of the fact that the petition was based on four annexures which included news item, supreme court's memo and order granting him liberty to approach the High Court and a representation filed by the petitioner.
"Petitioner has read these news items and filed a petition without looking at the EVM machine And style of working of EVM machine which is approved by ECI as well as by Parliament under sec. 61A of Representation of Peoples Act, 1951." The Court said.
"On the basis of this argument, we see no reason to issue notice. We see no reason to entertain this petition. Liberty is granted to the petitioner to file fresh petition with proper averments, annexures and based on research done by petitioner."
The Court therefore dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs. 10,000 to be deposited within four weeks.
Moved by Advocate CR Jaya Sukin, the plea stated that the use of ballot papers must be brought back in India's electoral process in order to "save the democracy."
Stating that the elections reflect the will of voters, the plea averred that EVMs must be replaced across India with traditional ballot papers as the same is more reliable and a transparent electoral process.
Highlighting various reasons as to the threats involved in the use of EVMs, the plea stated that there is a chance of hacking of EVM machines and that the compete profile of the voter can be accessed through such machines.
It had also been averred that EVMs can be used to tamper with the elections and that the election software of such machines can be changed.
"That India possesses the biggest democracy in the world and the most powerful weapon the Indian people have; is their power to Vote. Election in India is the righteous time to make the best use of this power because this is the time when the people of the country can express their collective will. People are the true tyrants that can govern the country by democratically electing the representatives to Parliament and State Legislatures besides the other democratic institutions at the lower levels," the plea stated.
Case Title: CR Jaya Sukin v. ECI & Ors