The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday told the Election Commission of India that the electronic voting machine (EVM) challenge that is scheduled to be held on June 3 is unconstitutional.
A division bench of the High Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the EC in connection with the EVM challenge. The HC has directed the poll panel to hold a full commission meeting and then inform the court if it wishes to go ahead with the challenge, which will see the NCP and the CPI-M participate.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has announced that it will be organising its own EVM hackathon on Saturday (June 3), the very same day the EC will be holding the challenge for the parties to prove the allegations of tampering. The EC had earlier refused AAP's request for an 'open hackathon'.
The AAP leaders have invited leaders from across political parties as well as the EC to participate in the hackathon and examine the EVM that AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj used in the Delhi Assembly to 'prove' the EVM tampering allegations.
The poll panel has pulled out 14 EVMs that were used in the recently-concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand for the challenge. Each party that takes part in the challeneg is allowed to use up tp four EVMs. However, the EC has kept extra EVMs as back up in case of an eventuality.
The participants will be given four hours each to tamper with the EVMs. The challenge will begin at 10 am and end at 2 pm. Two separate counters have been set up for the CPI-M and the NCP for the challenge. The proceedings will be judged by the members of a technical committee which would help the poll panel evaluate the machines.
Participants are allowed to use either a combination of keys on EVMs or over the air communication devices such as cellphone and bluetooth to tamper with the machine, DNA reported. The challengers will have to prove that the machines used during the assembly polls were tampered with before or on the day of polling.
If the machine ceases to function due to its inbuilt anti- tampering mechanism, the participant would be considered to have "failed" the challenge.