New Delhi, February 8: A petition filed in the Supreme Court said a “secured remote electronic voting system” should be put in place to allow citizens to cast their vote virtually.
The petition filed by a native of Kerala, K. Sathyan, represented by advocate Kaleeswaram Raj, said the electoral law needed to be brought in tune with the modern times and technology.
Students, NRIs, migrant workers and employees cannot be deprived of their right to vote merely because they were unable to be physically present in their respective constituencies. The term ‘postal ballot’ needs expansion, and the Supreme Court needs to intervene.
“Logistic concerns cannot curtail voting rights … Insistence of physical presence violates the right to equality … Exclusion of significant part of the population stationed outside their constituencies amounts to massive deprivation of the right to practice democratic process,” said the petition drawn by a group of young lawyers, including advocates Aruna A., Thulasi K. Raj, Maitreyi S. Hegde, Minu V.P., Tellmy Jolly and Uttara P.V., The Hindu reported.
The petition said freedom to vote was part of right to free speech and expression.
The petition said a “double database” should be put in use to store the transactions in electronic voting machines (EVMs). This means that there should be a central database and a local one. The double guard would drastically reduce the chance for manipulation of data and EVMs.
It said long-distance voters should be provided a One Time Password, which helps in fault-free identification of voters without infringing on their privacy.
The existing postal ballot facility should be extended to all classes and categories of registered voters stationed outside the constituency such as internal migrant workers, employees, business personnel, students, NRIs and their spouses.
The petition said CCTVs should be installed in polling booths. Assisted voting for the blind and the physically infirm ought to be made foolproof under the Conduct of Election Rules of 1961. People who guide them inside the booths should either be close relatives or election officials.
“Free elections form part of the basic structure of the Constitution,” the petition said.