EC plan to use ‘Totaliser’ rejected

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018

Machine helps total votes from different EVMs connected to it

The Centre has rejected Election Commission’s proposal to introduce a ‘totaliser’ machine for the counting of votes, as it does not want a controversy to crop up ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections.

A recent high-level meeting involving Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Manohar Parrikar and Ravi Shankar Prasad took a decision to this effect.

“A meeting was held between the members of high-level Committee recently and it was decided to drop this (totaliser) proposal,” a source privy to the meeting told BusinessLine.

The proposal to use the machine, which facilitates the mixing of votes polled in different Electronic Machines (EVMs), was taken up by the Election Commission in 2008.

A poll panel’s Standing Committee in February 2009 sought a demonstration of the machine, which did not materialise. The proposal was then referred to the Law Commission in January 2013 and in March this year, the EC backed the use of the machine.

Meanwhile, a writ petition in this matter was filed by one Yogesh Gupta regarding in the Supreme Court. Over the last two years, the petition had been coming up for hearing in the apex courtand the pushing hard for taking a ‘view in the matter at the earliest’.

In the hearing held on August 5, the Supreme Court had granted eight weeks’ time for the Centre to take a decision in the matter.

But, as suggested by Ministry of Law and Justice, the EC convened an all-party meeting in March and a demonstration of the machine was also made before representatives of the parties, sources in the know said.

All six national parties and 29 of 49 State parties were represented in the meeting, sources added.

No legislation required

It may be noted that introduction of totaliser for counting of votes, does not entail amendment to any Act of Parliament. An amendment to the relevant provisions of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 would suffice.

According to the sources, Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bengaluru, and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, Hyderabad, had developed the totaliser. The machine is an interface, to which a cluster of EVMs can be connected simultaneously, and the consolidated result of votes cast for each candidate in that group of EVMs can be obtained by pressing the result button in the totaliser, but without disclosing the votes polled by a candidate polling-station-wise.

Published on October 24, 2016

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