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Election Commission strongly rejects EVM tampering charges, says devices are credible and totally tamper-proof

Dismissing Claims Of BSP Supremo Mayawati And Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Who Had Raised Questions On The Reliability Of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), The Election Commission Said On Thursday That The Devices Are Fully Temper-proof As Ever. In A Strongly-worded Statement, The Commission Said Baseless, Speculative And Wild Allegations Are Being Made Which Deserve To Be Rejected.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Kanishk Sharma | Updated on: 17 Mar 2017, 09:35:39 AM
Election Commission strongly rejects EVM tampering charges, says devices are credible and totally tamper-proof. (File Photo)

New Delhi:

Dismissing claims of BSP supremo Mayawati and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who had raised questions on the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs), the Election Commission said on Thursday that the devices are fully temper-proof as ever. In a strongly-worded statement, the commission said "baseless, speculative and wild allegations are being made which deserve to be rejected". 

The poll panel said it did not receive specific complaints or concrete material from political parties and candidates about alleged tampering of EVMs during recently held election process. 

It said the BSP's representation on EVM tampering was without any specific allegation and it had rejected the claim of the party.

Read | Congress urges Election Commission to probe EVM tampering row 

"Such concerns about alleged tamperability of ECI-EVM have been raised earlier also since their introduction including before high court and the Supreme Court. "These allegations have been dismissed. ECI unequivocally reiterates that given effective technical and administrative safeguards, EVMs are not tamperable and integrity of electoral process is preserved," it said. 

The EC's rebuttal came a day after Mayawati said she will move court against the alleged tampering of EVMs. Kejriwal too had alleged that EVMs may have been tampered with in Punjab, adding "it is about the credibility of the Election Commission and the faith of people in the electoral system. We have strong prima facie evidence of foul play."

The Commission today said that so far, no one has been able to actually demonstrate that EVMs used by the Election Commission can be tampered with or manipulated. It said "what has been demonstrated or claimed to have been demonstrated is on a privately assembled look-alike of ECI-EVMs and not the actual ECI-EVMs." Electronics Corporation of India Ltd and Bharat Electronics Ltd are the two PSUs which manufacture the EVMs for EC. 

Here are the key points cited by the Election Commission:

# The machine is electronically protected to prevent any tampering/manipulation. The programme (software) used in these machines is burnt into a One Time Programmable (OTP)/Masked chip so that it cannot be altered or tampered with. Further these machines are not networked either by wire or by wireless to any other machine or system. Therefore, there is no possibility of its data corruption.

# The software is so designed that it allows a voter to cast the vote only once. The vote can be recorded by an elector from the ballot unit only after the Presiding Officer enables the ballot on the Control Unit. The machine does not receive any signal from outside at any time. The next vote can be recorded only after the Presiding Officer enables the ballot on the Control Unit. In between, the machine becomes dead to any signal from outside (except from the Control Unit).

Read | EVM tampering row: Samajwadi Party MLAs join chorus, demand use of paper ballots in future elections

# Some political parties have stated that some foreign countries have stopped using EVMs. The Commission has come across comparisons between  ECI-EVM and EVMs used by foreign countries. Such comparisons are both misplaced and misguided. ECI EVMs are stand-alone-machines. Therefore, ECI-EVMs cannot be compared with machines of other countries.

Check the EC's reply in full here

# The issue of possible tampering of EVM has been raised before various High Courts since 2001 as mentioned below:-(a) Madras High Court-2001(b) Delhi High Court-2004(c) Karnataka High Court- 2004(d) Kerala High Court-2002(e) Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench)-2004

All the above High Courts after going into all aspects of the technological soundness and the administrative measures involved in the use of EVMs at elections in India, have held that the EVMs in India are credible, reliable and totally tamperproof. In some of these cases, even Supreme Court has dismissed appeals filed by some petitioners against High Court orders. 

# Some activists then showed on TV channel a ‘machine’ which they claimed can be manipulated. ECI countered allegation that the ‘machine’ was stolen from EVM warehouse in Mumbai, subjected to changes by activists and thus it was no longer the ‘machine’ used by ECI.

Some activists approached Supreme Court in 2009 which advised them to go to ECI. It was then these activists opened dialogue and ECI threw open challenge to anyone to demonstrate how machine owned by ECI can be tempered. However, in spite of opportunities given by ECI, machines opened and internal components shown, no one could demonstrate any tempering with the machine in ECI HQ. There proceedings were videographed.

(With inputs from PTI)

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First Published : 16 Mar 2017, 07:38:00 PM

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