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EC says it lacks tech for alt39No Votealt39option

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In response to a PIL, both ECI and SEC inform Bombay HC of technical difficulty in having negative vote option

FPJ NEWS SERVICE Mumbai

The Election Commission of India ( ECI) on Monday told the Bombay High Court that

a proposal to introduce a ” none of the above” option on Electronic Voting Machines ( EVMs) is still pending with the government.

The ECI and State Election Commission ( SEC) informed the bench on Monday that due to technical difficulty it would not be possible to install a alt39alt39alt39alt39No Votealt39 panel on the Electronic Voting Machines to be used in the current municipal and Zilla Parishad elections in Maharashtra.

The division bench headed by Justice D D Sinha was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Thane- based Dr Mahesh Bedekar seeking alt39 No Votealt39 option in EVMs as the present system does not guard the secrecy of the voter casting a negative vote.

According to the PIL, in the present system if a voter wishes to cast a negative vote, he or she has to fill out a separate form, and the voters name is entered in a register. There should be an option for ” No Vote” in the EVM. The ECI, in an affidavit, said it had considered the issue of providing alt39alt39alt39alt39None of the Abovealt39 panel in EVMs, but such a modification would require amendments in the law.

” The Election Commission wrote two letters to the Government of India and Union Ministry of Law and Judiciary, asking them to amend the law,” the affidavit of Debashish Chakraborty, chief electoral officer, ECI, said.

But there was no reply. ” Until there is amendment in the law, it will not be possible to include alt39alt39alt39alt39None of the Abovealt39 panel in the EVM,” the affidavit said.

SEC counsel, Sachin Shetye, told the court that due to the technical difficulty, it would not be possible to install such button on EVMs for the civic elections this month.

Bedekars PIL points out that in the present system, if a voter wishes to cast a negative vote, he or she has to fill out a separate form, and the voters name is entered in a register.

The High Court has now asked the SEC to file its affidavit in reply on February 8.