SC ‘Effaces’ Uttarakhand HC Direction Restraining Criticism Of EVMs Used In State Assembly Elections [Read Order]
“The above observation in the impugned judgment be deemed to have been effaced from the record for all purposes in terms of this order, to which both the parties have no objection. We order accordingly.”
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered that the observation made by the Uttarakhand High Court restraining political parties from criticizing Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in elections to state assemblies would be deemed to have been effaced from the record for all purposes.
The Uttarakhand High Court, criticizing the tendency to question the credibility of the Election Commission of India by leveling ‘unsubstantial allegations’ vis-à-vis electronic voting machines, had restrained all political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals from criticizing the use of EVMs in the elections to the state assemblies even by approaching the electronic media, press, radio, Facebook, Twitter etc., till the decision of the election petitions filed in that regard.
The high court had dismissed a PIL filed by a Congress party leader observing that the uncalled-for criticism of the functioning of the Election Commission has a deleterious effect on its functioning and the same may result in lowering its morale.
The apex court bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Hemant Gupta, while considering the SLP filed against this order, observed that it agrees with the high court, thus dismissing the plea.
The Election Commission of India expressed no objection to efface the following observation made by the high court: “We, however, in the larger public interest restrain all the recognized National Political Parties, recognized State Political Parties, other political parties, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and individuals from criticizing the use of EVMs in the recently conducted elections of the State Assemblies even by approaching the Electronic Media, Press, Radio, Facebook, Tweeter etc. till the decision of the election petitions.”
The apex court bench observed: “The above observation in the impugned judgment be deemed to have been effaced from the record for all purposes in terms of this order, to which both the parties have no objection. We order accordingly.”