Electronic Voting Machine is an 'information' under the Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission has held.
Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava held thus in an appeal filed by Razaak K Haidar, who had filed an RTI application before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Election Commission of India (ECI), New Delhi, seeking an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).
According to him, as per Section 2(f) and 2(i) of the RTI Act, the definition of 'information' and 'record' includes model or any sample. Hence, an EVM qualifies as 'information' and should be provided to him under Section 6(1) of the RTI Act.
Defending the rejection of said application, the CPIO contended that the model/samples of the EVM available with the ECI, are only kept for training purpose by the ECI, and not saleable to the general public.
Referring to Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, the Commission observed: "Thus, the EVM which is available with the respondent in a material form and also as samples, as admitted by the respondent during the hearing, is an information under the RTI Act."
As regards the contention that the software installed in the EVM is an intellectual property of a third party, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of the third party concerned, , the commission directed the CPIO to provide an appropriate reply, as per the provisions of the RTI Act, since it could not have been denied under Section 6(1) of the Act.