The Gujarat High Court has been moved for its direction to hold the next state assembly elections using either EVMs with voter-verified paper audit trail or simply the ballot papers instead of the plain EVMs.
The court has been moved by the quota agitation leader Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener Reshma Patel with a plea contending that there is no basis to believe that the EVMs cannot be tampered with.
“In the upcoming 2017 Gujarat assembly election, the EVMs are required to be replaced with ballot papers as the EVMs, related systems, procedures and personnel are not fully reliable, fool-proof, tamper-proof or hacker-proof.
“There is no basis to believe the respondent (Election Commission) that embedded/fused programme cannot be hacked or is fool-proof,” she said in the petition which is likely to come up for hearing next week.
“The Supreme Court had in 2013 directed the Election Commission to introduce the EVMs with VVPAT—Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail—in gradual stages to ensure complete transparency.
“In the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, if the respondent (EC) fails to provide VVPAT system in the EVMs, then the election be ordered to be held by use of the ballot papers,” the petition said.
The Centre, the state government, the Chief Election Commissioner, the state Election Commission, Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India have been made respondents in the PIL.
“According to technical experts, the EVMs can be used to manage the result of elections, and can be tampered by an election officer. Even the electronic software of EVMs can be changed... Even the BJP has raised the question... the EVMs have even been banned in many countries,” she said in the petition.
Patel also said the names of thousands of members of a “particular community” (Patel) were missing from voters’ list in the 2015 municipal corporation elections and sought the court’s direction to ensure that “no voter is deprived of his valuable right to votes due to the fault on the part of the respondents.”
Gujarat Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in later part of the year.