Monday, May 8, 2017

Bombay HC Asks Hyderabad Forensic Science Lab to Test Electronic Voting Machines

Amidst all the controversies of tampering of Electronic Voting Machine ( EVM), the Bombay High Court has asked Hyderabad based Central forensic Science laboratory  (CFSL) to investigate whether two EVMs used in Maharashtra Assembly Election 2014  were tampered or not. The HC has given this order in a election petition filed by Abhay Chhajed then congress candidate of Parvati Legislative Assembly Constituency in Pune. HC has also asked the collector pune to provide  the technical data ,  if any , if asked for and if possible to the CFSL Hyderabad .

Image cortsey The Voice of Nation

The HC has asked CFSL to investigate;

a) Whether there exists any electronic part/ device within EVM, which can remotely connect with external devices with the help of infrared/ blue tooth or similar technologies?

b) Whether there exists any additional memory chip inside EVMs to store any program counter data inside the EVM Machine?

c) Whether the machine codes ( One Time Programmable/OTP Codes) of all the exhibit EVM machines have been tampered?

d) Whether the has values and metadata of the aforesaid machine codes ( One Time Programmable/OTP Codes ) are same or different?

e) Whether the enclosed program counter data in the control unit give the same result as declared be the returning officer of the Election Commission dated 19.10.2014 at Parvati Assembly Constituency?

f) Whether the EVM machines and its data have been accessed in any manner during the period from the Date of polling and Date of Result?

g) Whether there is evidence or material indicating tampering or manipulation of the machines i.e counting unit and the ballot unit along with the connecting cables either from any internal or external remote device or source?

h) Is there any reason as a result of which the votes cast in favor of the candidate would either not be recorded or may  be recorded in favor of another candidate .Inspection and evaluation of the EV machines and its components?

i) Is it possible to find out how many such votes are cast . if yes , then how many and whose favor?

It was  the case of the Petitioner Abhay Chhajed  that the electronic voting machines used during the Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly elections, 2014 in Pune were tampered with. More specifically Booth No.185 and Booth No. 242 in the 212 Parvati Legislative Assembly Constituency. Chhajed  had also led evidence of voters who had cast their votes in his favor. The number of such voters from booth no. 185 exceeds the number of votes recorded in his favor in the Electronic Voting Machines used at the said booth.

Chhajeds’ argument was that ,the tampering of the machines was  quite evident because only 79 votes were counted in favor of him, in stead of 89.,In his support  89 such voters, who voted at Booth No.185 and Booth No. 242, had signed an Affidavit stating that they had voted for   him during the said election.

Abhay Chhajed had  lost to BJP's Madhuri Misal from that constituency, had challenged her October 2014 victory the same year. Misal was the first to be declared a winner during the 2014 assembly elections. She had defeated her two main rivals, Chhajed and Subhash Jagtap of the NCP.

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