The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed two writ petitions: namely, apprehensions over 19 lakhs missing EVMs and another petition to use ballot paper to conduct elections while reposing its faith in the EVMs, news agency ANI reported.

Regarding the petition concerning the missing EVMs, the Supreme Court termed the apprehensions and allegations as completely baseless, thus ruling in favor of the Election Commission of India (ECI). The petitioner, INCP, had raised concerns that the 19 lakh missing EVMs from ECI custody between 2016 and 2019 could be exploited to manipulate the upcoming Lok Sabha General Election in 2024.

The Court declined to entertain the second petition, which sought to conduct elections using ballot paper by setting aside Section 61A of The Representation of the People Act, 1951. Justice Khanna noted that the court has examined more than 10 cases on various issues related to EVM functioning. While dismissing the petition, the Court reposed its faith in the functioning of the EVMs.

While dismissing the petitions, the Court reiterated its trust in the functioning of the EVMs. The Supreme Court’s decisions over the years, spanning nearly 40 judgments, have consistently supported the Election Commission of India’s EVMs and the transparent processes surrounding them, contributing significantly to the jurisprudence favoring EVMs in India.

The latest decisions of the Supreme Court further add to the robust and growing catena of orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts that have examined various EVM matters and have adjudicated in favour of the Election Commission of India.

It may further be noted that in a recent case (Madhya Pradesh Jan Vikash Party v. Election Commission of India, Special Leave Petition (Civil) 16870/2022, September 2022), the Supreme Court imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on the petitioner, observing recurring attempts to raise issues regarding EVMs. The Delhi High Court also levied a cost of Rs 10,000 on a petition (C.R. Jaya Sukin v. Election Commission of India & Ors., Writ Petition (Civil) 6635/2021, August 2021) advocating for the discontinuation of EVM usage in elections.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court dismissed a petition by the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee seeking to halt the ongoing First Level Checking (FLC) process for Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and VVPATS to be used in the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections in the NCR. The court emphasized the transparency and reliability of existing procedures and rejected the petitioner’s assertions.

The Election Commission of India has consistently made information regarding EVM-related processes and safeguards available to the public through publications such as the EVM Manual, Status Paper, EVM Presentation, Commemorative Book on the 40-year journey of EVMs, Legal History of EVMs, and regularly updated EVM FAQs.

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