Source: 
Times Now
https://www.timesnownews.com/india/dont-try-to-bring-down-the-system-like-this-sc-warning-to-prashant-bhushan-on-evm-pleas-article-109346854
Author: 
Harish V Nair
Date: 
16.04.2024
City: 

"Returning to paper ballots has its drawbacks. Don't compare with foreign countries, compare the population. Don’t try to bring down the system like this," Justice Dipankar Datta said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, during its hearing on pleas challenging Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), rebuked lawyer Prashant Bhushan, cautioning him against attempting to undermine "the system".

"Returning to paper ballots has its drawbacks. Don't compare with foreign countries, compare the population. Don’t try to bring down the system like this," Justice Dipankar Datta said.

Appearing for petitioner Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), Bhushan had referred to Germany's practices during the hearing, advocating for the counting and matching of VVPAT paper slips with EVM results.

When Justice Datta asked about Germany's population, Bhushan stated it to be around 5 crores, adding that India has a voter base of 50-60 crores.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna, however, intervened, remarking that India has a registered voter base of 97 crore, highlighting the limitations of the ballot voting method for such a huge voter base.

"We are in our 60s. We know all that can go wrong," Justice Khanna stated.

The court proceedings, characterized by significant oral remarks from the court, provided insights into various aspects concerning the use of EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) in India.

Criticising Bhushan for relying on private polls to assert that a majority of voters lack trust in EVMs, the Supreme Court underscored the pitfalls of human intervention in the electoral process.

"Human intervention leads to problems. This includes human weaknesses which includes biases too. Machines without human intervention will work properly, more effectively," the court stated.

The court stressed the importance of accountability among Election Commission of India (ECI) officers and discouraged any attempts to undermine the electoral process.

"We want to satisfy that there is no tampering, misuse, or abuse. Explain methodology, procedure... submit to us each stage from voting to storage to counting, post counting complaints handling procedure... if there is manipulation, what is the punishment? It’s a serious thing. There should be fear that if anything is done, consequence will be serious," the top court asserted.

The proceedings have been adjourned to Thursday, April 18.

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