EVMs Not Under RTI Act
- 19 Dec 2019
- 2 min read
Why in News
Recently, the Delhi High Court quashed an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) which had held that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) fall within the definition of ‘information’ under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
- The CIC’s order had come on a plea which sought access to an EVM maintained by the Election Commission (EC) under the RTI Act.
- CIC had observed that EVMs available with the EC in a material form or as a sample is a piece of information under section 2(f) of the RTI Act.
- Section- 2 (f) states that "Information" means any material in any form, including Records, Documents, Memos, e-mails, Opinions, Advice, Press releases, Circulars, Orders, Logbooks, Contracts, Reports, Papers, Samples, Models, Data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a Public Authority under any other law for the time being in force.
- With this judgement, EVMs are out of the purview of RTI ACT.
Election Commission’s Stand
- EC does not maintain any EVM in sample or model form for the purpose of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act.
- Though it maintains a small number of EVMs for the purposes of training of election officials and uses in awareness programmes under strict supervision.
- All EVMs utilised in the conduct of elections are securely stored in accordance with the manual on EVMs issued by the EC and the Representation of People Act.
- As per Article 324 of the Constitution, ECI has plenary powers in matters related to conduct of elections. And EVMs are integral to the conduct of elections in India. Its unregulated disclosure may lead to the threat to the purity and fairness of elections.