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SC refuses to entertain PIL seeking directions to EC for independent audit of EVMs source code
At this, the court remarked: "It should not be in public domain as there could be a danger that it could be subject to misuse"
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the Election Commission of India for an independent audit of source code governing the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
"What is the material before us to doubt it?," asked a bench headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud to the petitioner-in-person, a Mumbai-based lawyer Sunil Ahya.
The petitioner told the bench, also comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, that he had filed RTI application and his multiple representations to the Election Commission for setting up standards to carry out audit of source code of all EVMs also remained unanswered.
"They have not followed or disclosed any particular standard. Any audit to be of a meaning has to be as per a recognised standard. The source code is the brain of the EVM system. It is about survival of democracy," he submitted.
He added that in the international system, such audit reports are available in public domain but in India EVM source codes are not being independently audited or have hash function signatures.
At this, the court remarked: "It should not be in public domain as there could be a danger that it could be subject to misuse."
"Presently, the petitioner has placed no actionable material on record to indicate that the Election Commission has breached its constitutional mandate," it said in its order.
The Supreme Court also said that "the manner in which the source code should be audited or whether audit should be placed in public domain are based on sensitive issues pertaining to the integrity of the elections which are conducted in the superintendence of Election Commission."
"On such a policy issue, we are not inclined to issue directions sought by the petitioner," it ordered while dismissing the plea.
Earlier in 2019, the Supreme Court did not go into the issues raised in the PIL in view of the general elections in that year and asked the petitioner to make representation to the Election Commission.
Published: 22 Sep 2023, 1:24 PM