SC dismisses PIL alleging violation of voter secrecy

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a PIL alleging violation of voter secrecy in the existing electoral system, saying there is no merit in the petition.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta dismissed the petition and told the petitioner’s counsel that he had not read the April 26 verdict of the apex court, which rejected the allegation of manipulation of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

The counsel for petitioner Agnostos Theos asserted a polling officer can see the VVPAT slips and the data stored in the polling device.

“From the VVPAT slips and data in EVMs, the (presiding) officer) can identify which voter cast his vote for which party,” he said.

The bench said had he seen the April 26 verdict he would not have made this submission.

“There is no way a presiding officer can know which voter cast his vote for which party. Go through the verdict. We find no merit in the petition. Dismissed,” the bench said.

On April 26, terming the suspicion over manipulation of the EVMs as “unfounded”, the top court had rejected the demand for reverting to the old paper ballot system, saying the polling devices were “secure” and eliminate booth capturing and bogus voting.

However, the apex court had opened a window for aggrieved unsuccessful candidates securing second and third places, allowing them to seek verification of microcontroller chips embedded in five per cent EVMs per assembly constituency on a written request upon payment of a fee to the poll panel.

It directed that from May 1, the symbol loading units (SLU) should be sealed and secured in a container and stored in a strongroom along with the EVMs for a minimum period of 45 days after the declaration of results.