Electoral Reforms In India

Maharashtra to introduce ballot papers along with EVMs

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 328

Mains level : EVM issues

Maharashtra Assembly Speaker has directed the State Law and Justice Department to prepare the draft of a Bill which provides an option to voters to exercise their franchise on ballot papers along with electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Manner of holding elections

  • Article 328 of the Indian Constitution and number 37 of the State List of the seventh schedule of the Constitution provide rights to the State legislature to formulate a law on the manner of holding elections within the State.
  • The state cannot abolish the EVMs completely.
  • They are just demanding an additional provision of ballot paper as well for whoever wants to use that.
  • Directions have been given to check the constitutional validity of the argument and prepare the draft of a Bill.

Background

  • The Election Commission has been conducting all elections through EVMs since 2001.
  • The Indian EVM is a direct recording device, which is a stand-alone machine.
  • The Election Commission has clarified several times that Indian EVMs don’t talk to any machine outside its own system – be it through a wired network, internet, satellite, and WiFi or Bluetooth.
  • The EVM is not connected to the server, so cyber hacking of Indian EVMs is not possible unless an authorised person acts with malafide intention.
  • In 2014, a whopping 55.38 crore people cast their votes in EVMs in the parliamentary elections.

Considerations behind such a move

  • On EVMs, a voter can never be 100% sure about whom he or she has voted and whether that particular candidate has received the vote.
  • It is a right of every voter to be 100% sure about it and also essential for the democratic process.”
  • Over the past few years, serious concerns and doubts had been raised over the EVMs and whether those could be manipulated.
  • The option of ballot voting would boost people’s confidence in the electoral process which would ultimately lead to an increase in voting percentage.

Q.The EC’s role in ensuring the people’s faith in democracy is paramount. The loss of public faith in democracy and its protector institutions spells nothing but disaster. Discuss.

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