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�EVMs used in last polls not free of all doubts�

By Correspondent

MANGALDAI, Aug 11 � The controversies surrounding the use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) refuse to die. A group of seven legal practitioners of the Mangaldai Bar Association have disclosed some sensational information regarding EVMs collected with the help of RTI Act which will make every concerned citizen observe that the EVMs were not free from all doubts.

According to Jayanta Deka, one senior member of the group, the election authority here did not have any certificate from the experts that the EVMs used in the last Assembly election were a tamper proof. This was revealed by the District Election Officer, Darrang following a RTI petition filed by advocate Jayanta Deka and six of his colleagues. In the RTI petition to the District Election Officer cum Deputy Commissioner, Darrang it was asked whether the experts from the EVM manufacturing organisations issued any certificate that the EVMs were free of tampering. In the petition the district election authority was also asked to provide a photocopy of such certificate. But the authority failed to provide any such certificate as the EVM manufacturing company had not submitted any such certificate to the election authority.

Interestingly, the petitioners also raised doubts about the safety of the security code specified separately for each EVM. It is pertinent to mention that the authority failed to produce the �Non disclosure on security code declaration� from the persons who were responsible for maintenance of EVMs. According to experts any kind of tampering is possible if the security code fixed for an EVM is disclosed and hence non-disclosure of security code. But the answer from district election authority was in the negative as the staff responsible for this purpose were not regular staff of the manufacturing company. Moreover, the authority didn�t possess any information on the declaration of non disclosure of security code.

The petitioners comprising advocates Jatin Nath, Sailendra Goswami, Nirod Deka, Mrinal Nath, Kalpana Deka and Nayanmani Deka in addition to their senior colleague Jayanta Deka further came to know that EVMs were kept in such rooms which had no expert certificate that conditions were suitable to preserve electronic equipment like EVMs from its receipt till their use in election. Although the information was collected only for 67 Mangaldai LAC, the petitioners observed that information was most likely the same for all other 125 Assembly constituencies of the State.

On the basis of the above information they concluded that the EVMs were not free from doubts but at the same time they never meant to say that results of the last State Assembly election were manipulated through EVM tampering.

It may be mentioned that many a times questions on the verifiability, transparency and accountability of EVMs have been raised and JVI Narasinhma Rao led this protest in different platforms of the nation through his own organisation VeTA (Verifiability, Transperancy and Accountability).

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