Sibal urges SC to direct EC to preserve EVM logs for 2-3 years, put out voting records before counting

Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on Friday urged the Supreme Court to direct the Election Commission to keep the logs of EVMs safe for at least two to three years and declare the records of every phase of voting before counting so that no member is elected "illegally".
Rajya Sabh MP Kapil Sibal to Supreme Court on EVM logs
Rajya Sabh MP Kapil Sibal to Supreme Court on EVM logs

New Delhi | Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on Friday urged the Supreme Court to direct the Election Commission to keep the logs of EVMs safe for at least two to three years and declare the records of every phase of voting before counting so that no member is elected "illegally".

Sibal also said if the Election Commission cannot upload Form 17C -- which gives the number of votes polled in a polling station -- the state electoral officer could upload the data.

"Every machine has an operating system, so do the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). This log of EVMs should be kept safely. This will tell us what time the voting ended and how many votes were invalid. It will tell us what time the votes were cast. So, this is the evidence that should be kept safely," he told a press conference.

Sibal said the Election Commission usually keeps this data for 30 days and asserted this is "crucial" data which must be preserved by the poll body.

"It is their responsibility because we are making an allegation as they do not upload Form 17C, they do not tell us how many votes were polled. When the counting will take place, results would be declared and nothing can be done then as the results will be declared and government will be formed. They should keep these logs safely for two to three years," he said.

Sibal, also a senior advocate, urged the Supreme Court to direct the Election Commission to keep these logs safe and the record of all phases be made public before counting so that no MP is elected in an "illegal manner".

"We also need to know how the voting percentage rose and how it increased when revised figures were given," he said.

The Election Commission should have no hesitation in sharing data and letting people know how the votes were cast before the counting ended, the independent Rajya Sabha MP said.

"We want the Supreme Court to give a directive to this effect," he added.

Sibal's remarks came two days after the Election Commission told the apex court that "indiscriminate disclosure" of polling station-wise turnout data and posting it on its website would cause chaos in the election machinery, which is already in motion for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The poll panel said that public posting of Form 17C -- which gives the number of votes polled in a polling station -- was not provided in the statutory framework and could lead to mischief and vitiation of the entire electoral space as it increased the possibility of the images being morphed.

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