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EC defends punishment for falsely questioning EVMs


IANS New Delhi
The Election Commission (EC) on Monday defended strict punishment and penalty for questioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), saying it is necessary to ensure that mischievous elements do not make false complaints that may hinder the electoral process.
Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain told the media that after any complaint is raised against the functioning of EVMs -- where slip generated by the voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machine shows that vote has gone to the wrong candidate -- the electoral process is stopped.
He said the whole process to check if the complaint is valid takes roughly around 30 minutes during which voting is stopped.
"If there is no penalty for it, then it may be misused. What if 10 people in different times of the day question EVMs?" he asked, justifying that penalty is needed to deter mischief.
Earlier, the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the EC on a plea challenging the legal provision mandating six months' jail for questioning EVMs.
According to Section 49MA of the Code of Election Rules, if a person files a complaint regarding discrepancy in the EVM, and if after investigation it is found to be false or incorrect, then the complainant can be prosecuted under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code for "furnishing false information". This section invites "six months in jail or a fine of Rs 1,000 or both".

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 10:02 PM IST

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