Madhya Pradesh HC disposes of plea on EVMs; highlights security measures
The Madhya Pradesh High Court Friday disposed of a local Congress leader's petition seeking the safety of EVMs and a court-monitored SIT to probe into their alleged mishandling after the Assembly polls held on November 28.
Congress leader Naresh Saraf's petition alleged that, after the polling was over, attempts were made to tamper with the polled EVM-VVPATs in Bhopal, Satna, Shajapur, Sagar and Khandwa.
Saraf's petition also contended that no separate arrangements were made for used/unused Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).
"The strong rooms for storing polled EVMs-VVPATs and warehouses for unused/reserved EVMs-VVPATs are separate buildings with separate security arrangements," a division bench comprising Chief Justice SK Seth and Justice VK Shukla said quoting Election Commission of India's (EC) submission on the issue.
"These strong rooms are under the security of Central armed paramilitary forces with a triple cordon of security," the court said, adding that the EC had informed the Indian National Congress, New Delhi about the remedial measures already taken.
Stating that no further action was required from the court, it disposed of Saraf's petition.
EC counsel Siddharth Seth told HC that necessary instructions were issued to the authorities well in advance for safe upkeep of used EVMs-VVPATs (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) and unused reserved EVMs-VVPATs after polling got over.
The counsel informed the court that the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Madhya Pradesh had on December 2, submitted a report to the EC on the representation of MP Congress Committee in this connection.
The CEO MP, on December 4, submitted a report to the EC refuting media reports on account of the short-term failure of CCTV cameras due to a power cut in Bhopal, as well as a delay in depositing three unused reserved EVMs-VVPATs in Khandwa, the EC counsel said.
Results of the Assembly polls for the 230-member House will be declared on December 11.
(With inputs from agencies.)