Plea seeking regeneration of the Current Electoral System filled in Supreme Court

Umamageswari Maruthappan

A petition was filed before the Supreme Court for renewal of the current voting system owing to the current advancements and modernization. It sought to expand the electronic voting machine system and also to reduce the malpractices in the electoral process.

Social Activist K. Sathyan had filed the petition through Advocate Nishe Rajan Shonker. The plea was drawn by Advocates Aruna A., Thulasi K. Raj, Maitreyi S. Hegde, Minu V.P., Tellmy Jolly and Uttara P.V. The petitioner was represented by Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj.[1]

The petition put forth two pleas. One is to expand the current electoral system by expanding the e-voting procedure to a larger scale. “Several sections of voters including internal migrant labourers, employees, students and business professionals stationed outside the constituency as well as Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and overseas migrant labourers on account of their profession, occupation, education, trade, business, marriage etc have been alienated from the electoral process for very long,” the petition read.[2]

According to the petitioner, depriving these sections of people is a serious infringement of their Right to Vote and their Constitutional Right of Equality. The compulsion of physical presence defeats the very purpose of free and fair elections in our country.

As a remedy, the petition suggested an effective e-voting system. “This allows the voter to vote from anywhere in the world as long as there is access to an internet-connected computer,” it stated.[3]

Second contention was related to the manipulations of electronic system. To contain malpractices, the petition suggested a “double database”, that is, having more than one database. “This will make it difficult for person attempting to tamper with the EVMs,” the petition said.[4]

Furthermore, the petition also advises for the introduction of One Time Password (OTP) System to prevent any fault during the voting process. Lastly, it also suggested the installations of CCTVs in polling booths.