Supreme Court Rejects Plea Against Vote Machines (EVMs), Fines Petitioner

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The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea by a political party which claimed electronic voting machine (EVM) were “controlled” by some companies and not the Election Commission, saying the court is not a place where everybody walks in just to get “some publicity”.
While rejecting the petition with a cost of ₹ 50,000, the apex court said the election process under The Representation of the People Act, 1951 is monitored by a constitutional authority like the Election Commission (EC).

“Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) process has been utilized in our country for decades now but periodically issues are sought to be raised. This is one such endeavor in the abstract. It appears that party which may not have got much recognition from the electorate now seeks recognition by filing petitions!” a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka said in its order.

“We are of the view that such petitions must be deterred and thus dismiss this petition with costs of ₹ 50,000 to be deposited with Supreme Court Group-C (Non-Clerical) Employees Welfare Association within a period of four weeks from today,” it said.

The top court was dealing with a petition filed by Madhya Pradesh Jan Vikas Party against the December last year verdict of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had dismissed its plea raising the issue about EVMs.

The counsel appearing for the party referred to Article 324 of the Constitution which deals with superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in the Election Commission.

He asserted though Article 324 says everything has to be controlled by the EC, the EVMs are being controlled by some companies.

“Do you know how many people vote in parliamentary elections in the entire country? It is a huge exercise,” the bench orally observed.

It asked whether the petitioner wanted the court to monitor the exercise as to in what manner the EVMs should be used.

The counsel said the petitioner wanted some checks and balances should be there in this process.

He said the petitioner wants Article 324 be implemented in true spirit and everything should be controlled by the EC and not by some company. They only want a free and fair election process, the counsel said.

“It is not a place where everybody walks in just to get some publicity,” the bench observed, before junking the petition.

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