Madras High Court Disposes DMK’s Plea Seeking CCTV Coverage Of Voting; Appreciates ECI For Clearing All Apprehensions

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first_imgNews UpdatesMadras High Court Disposes DMK’s Plea Seeking CCTV Coverage Of Voting; Appreciates ECI For Clearing All Apprehensions LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK1 April 2021 10:10 PMShare This – xThe Election Commission of India recently gave an account of the measures being taken by it to ensure that the upcoming by-elections in Tamilnadu are free and fair The development comes in a petition filed by the Dravida Munnetara Kazhagam party before the Madras High Court apprehending tampering of EVMs and unfair counting. The Election Commission has informed a Division Bench…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Election Commission of India recently gave an account of the measures being taken by it to ensure that the upcoming by-elections in Tamilnadu are free and fair The development comes in a petition filed by the Dravida Munnetara Kazhagam party before the Madras High Court apprehending tampering of EVMs and unfair counting. The Election Commission has informed a Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy that it has identified critical and vulnerable booths and that 100% web-casting of the entire activities on polling day shall be done thereof. The ECI also submitted: There will be 100% web-casting of the entire activities on polling day at the critical and vulnerable polling booths. Over 44,000 polling booths, covering more than 50% of the total polling stations in the State, would be covered by webcasting. However, the monitoring of the activities on the virtual platform will be undertaken only by the Election Commission officials and no outsider will be allowed to participate real time, though the recordings may be available for inspection subsequently.Information pertaining to identification of the critical and vulnerable polling booths should not be shared with political parties on the grounds of security.M3 voting machines would only be used, which have been manufactured in 2017 and later.Regarding counting of the paper trail, the random counting in accordance with the Supreme Court directions would be conducted.Pre-poll guarding of the EVMs would be conducted in accordance with the Election Manual. Towards this end, each EVM handed over to a polling booth is checked before the polling starts and only if it reveals nil votes, the machine will be used. Every EVM is sealed and the candidates’ signatures are obtained across the seal and the seals are not broken or opened till the period of limitation after the conduct of the polls runs out and no challenge to the election in the relevant constituency has been made. Significantly, the Petitioner-party had also sought installation of jammers at the strong rooms where EVMs are stored to ensure that they are not tampered with remotely. On this issue, the Election Commission submitted that the EVMs cannot be tampered by any wi-fi or radio device. It added, “it is also its practice to cut off supply inside the strong-rooms where the EVMs are stored, both at the pre-poll and at the post-poll stages, not because the machines are affected by any electrical activity, but to ensure that there is no cause for fire by any short-circuit of the lines.” In light of the above submissions, the Bench recorded its satisfaction and disposed of the petition with hope that the election week, starting April 6 will pass off peacefully and uneventfully. The order stated, “the counter-affidavit filed by the Election Commission and the specific replies to the queries raised by the Court apropos the areas of concern expressed by the petitioner, indicate a satisfactory level of preparedness on the part of the Election Commission that should dispel all apprehensions and even allay legitimate misgivings. … However, the Election Commission should be alert and pro-active and, most importantly, ensure that the second surge of the pandemic is not accelerated by the activities undertaken on election day.” The Bench also appreciated the Commission for filing a proper counter-affidavit that demonstrated a kind of clarity not generally associated with affidavits filed by the officialdom. Case Title: Dravida Munnetara Kazhagam v. Election Commission of India & Anr. Click Here To Download Order Read OrderNext Storylast_img read more