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Supreme Court Upheld the Validity of EVM In ADR’s Case

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 02-05-2024
Supreme Court Upheld the Validity of EVM In ADR’s Case Supreme Court 8 min read

The Supreme Court's two-judge bench, including Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, have made a decision in the 'EVM case' of Association for Democratic Reforms vs Election Commission of India and Another. 

ADR’s Petition

  • The court has rejected ADR's plea and validated the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), with the addition of two more safety measures. 
  • The ADR, a non-governmental organization, had requested that the voting system by EVM should either be removed altogether or significantly changed. 
  • The petitioners argued that if EVMs were to continue, the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slip should be handed to the voter so that they could physically cast it into the ballot box, or all VVPAT slips in the country should be counted alongside the electronic tally. 
  • Presently, only the electronic counts from five randomly selected EVMs in each assembly segment are verified against the tally given by VVPAT slips. 
  • Additionally, the petitioners challenged the rule that only allows the voter to call for physical verification if they feel that there is a discrepancy between their vote as cast and the VVPAT slip. They argued that any elector, not just such a voter, should be able to call for a recount.

Reason of rejecting the Petition 

  • Justice Khanna opines that voters have the right to have their votes recorded and counted, but different methods can secure this. 
  • Some of the suggestions may reduce the integrity of elections. Counting 100% of VVPAT slips is unnecessary, and physical verification by any elector is rejected.

Additional safeguards 

  • The court ordered two additional measures to strengthen the integrity of the election process. 
  • First, the symbol loading units of VVPATs will be sealed after use and stored in a strongroom. 
  • Second, the first or second runner up in a constituency can identify 5% of the control units, ballot units, and VVPATs to be examined after results. 
  • Candidates can be present during the checking, and if tampering is found, their expenses will be refunded.

SC on the electoral process

  • Justices Khanna and Datta defended the integrity of the electronic voting machines and warned against unfounded challenges that could create distrust. 
  • They argued that the petitioners' request for a return to paper ballots revealed a lack of trust in the system. The court upheld the use of EVMs for recording and counting votes.

History of EVM

  • The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was first developed in 1979 by the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL), Hyderabad, to replace the ballot box in the electoral process. 
  • Bharat Electronic Ltd. (BEL), Bangalore, was also assigned to manufacture EVMs once a consensus was reached on its introduction.
  • EVMs were first used in Kerala's general election in May 1982, but the Supreme Court invalidated the election due to the lack of laws. 
  • Subsequently, in 1989, the Representation of the People Act, 1951 was amended to allow EVMs in elections. 
  • Since 2001, the Commission has used EVMs for every State Assembly election, and in 2004, EVMs were used in all 543 Parliamentary Constituencies in the country.
  • An EVM consists of two units - Control Unit (CU) and Balloting Unit (BU). A Balloting Unit caters up to 16 candidates.
  •  The EVMs come in different variants and have evolved over time. The pre-2006 (M1) and post-2006 EVMs (M2) can accommodate up to 64 candidates using 4 Balloting Units, while the upgraded post-2006 EVMs (M3) can cater to 384 candidates using 24 Balloting Units. It runs on a 7.5-volt battery. Braille signage is embossed on the right side of the BU for guidance of visually impaired electors.
  • EVMs in elections are a major achievement for democracy. They increase transparency, efficiency, and acceptance. 


  • The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail is a separate system connected to the Electronic Voting Machines. It enables voters to verify that their votes are registered as intended. 
  • When a vote is cast, a slip is printed on the VVPAT printer that contains the candidate's name, symbol, and serial number. 
  • This printed slip remains visible for seven seconds through a transparent window. After that, the slip is automatically cut and deposited in a sealed drop box of the VVPAT. The VVPAT comprises a printer and a VVPAT Status Display Unit (VSDU). 


Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)

  • The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) was founded in 1999 by a group of professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad
  • Since 2003, ADR and the National Election Watch have conducted Election Watches for the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Elections, as well as most State Assembly Elections in the country. 
  • Election Watch provides background reports based on Criminal, Financial, Educational, and Income Tax details of Candidates and Winners (MPs, MLAs, and Ministers) who have contested Elections to State Assemblies, the Parliament, and a few local bodies. 
  • The reports aim to provide voters with relevant information about the candidates they are voting for, so that they can make informed decisions.


Answer: Association for Democratic Reforms vs Election Commission of India and Another

Answer: 2004

Answer: Kerala

Answer: Professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad

Answer: Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail
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