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DMK Files Writ Petition in Madras HC Over Electronic Voting Machines Ahead of Lok Sabha Polls

DMK Files Writ Petition in Madras HC Over Electronic Voting Machines Ahead of Lok Sabha Polls

In preparation for the Lok Sabha elections, the DMK, the ruling party in Tamil Nadu, has submitted a writ petition to the Madras High Court concerning electronic voting machines.

DMK, in its petition to the Madras High Court, has alleged that in the electronic voting machine, a "printer between the Balloting Unit and the Control Unit, tampers with the integrity of the data that is fed to the Control Unit".

MK Stalin's party has asserted that such a connection directly violates the regulations stipulated in the Representation of the People Act of 1951. Additionally, they highlighted that the rules established in 1961 do not permit the printer to be directly linked to the Control Unit.

In its petition, the DMK also noted that the procedure in case of a discrepancy in Form 17C is not outlined or incorporated into this system. The petition expressed concerns that the Election Commission of India is handling this aspect without clear guidelines, leading to a lack of transparency.

"It is apprehended that the Election Commission of India is governing this aspect in a vacuum, and there is a lack of transparency regarding the same," the petition read.

In its petition, the DMK highlighted that the procedure for addressing discrepancies in Form 17C is not defined or integrated into the current system. The petition raised concerns about the Election Commission of India managing this aspect without clear guidelines, resulting in a lack of transparency.

The petition further emphasized that due to the complexities associated with EVM machines, decisions regarding such matters should not be solely entrusted to the internal decision-making process of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Lawyer and activist Arun Kumar Agrawal, in his petition, also contested the Election Commission of India's guideline requiring sequential VVPAT verification, arguing that this approach leads to unwarranted delays.

The petition, presented by advocate Neha Rathi, also highlighted that despite the government's expenditure of approximately ₹5000 crores on purchasing nearly 24 lakh VVPATs, the verification of VVPAT slips is only being conducted for approximately 20,000 VVPATs. The petition requested direction for the Election Commission of India to mandate cross-verification of the count in EVMs with votes that have been verifiably 'recorded as cast' by the voter through the VVPATs, by counting all VVPAT paper slips.

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