The Statesman – Punjab Polls: High Court directs EC to ensure safety of EVMs

Shiv Rawal

Chandigarh, 9 February 2017. Taking up a petition moved by the Punjab unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Punjab and Haryana High Court here on Thursday directed the Election Commission (EC) to take all possible steps to ensure complete safety and security of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in February 4 polls for the state Assembly.

While disposing of the petition, the Division Bench headed by Justice Mahesh Grover directed that said that security of the EVMs is necessary to instill the confidence of the public and to enhance the credibility of election process so inherent to democracy.

The AAP had submitted that the petition has been necessitated on account of the “lackadaisical and casual approach” of the EC towards the EVMs used in the Punjab Assembly elections and in ensuring apposite protection and proper security arrangements for the safe custody of the EVMs.

It was submitted that the Punjab has been struck with peculiar circumstance in this election in as much as the polling was held on February 4 and he EVMS were transferred in the strong room the same day, however the counting will be held after more than a month on March 11.

It was further alleged in the petition that the EC and the chief electoral officer of Punjab have grossly failed in their duty to security the EVMs.

Through the petition, the AAP Punjab unit has sought that no unauthorized person (including the staff) be allowed in the middle perimeter of the Strong Rooms and in the outer perimeter, only persons with valid identity cards and authorization be allowed to enter.

Further it was sought that to make suitable arrangements for CCTV monitored any entry and exit from the outer perimeter inwards, which should be visible to candidates or their agents.

Suitable arrangements were also requested to enable candidates or their authorized representatives to be stationed within visible distance and straight vision from the seal of the inner perimeter.


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