Mumbai: The Election Commission on Monday said a proposal to introduce a "none of the above" option on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is still pending with the government.
This was stated by the ECI and the State Election Commission (SEC) in an affidavit before the Bombay High Court today while informing that it would not be possible to install a `No Vote` panel on the EVMs to be used in the upcoming municipal and Zilla Parishad elections in Maharashtra.
The division bench headed by Justice DD Sinha was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Thane-based Dr Mahesh Bedekar seeking no-vote option in EVMs as the present system does not guard the secrecy of the voter casting a negative vote.
The ECI, in an affidavit, said it had considered the issue of providing `None of the Above` panel in EVMs, but such a modification would require amendments in the law.
"The Election Commission wrote two letters to the Government of India and Union Ministry of Law and Judiciary, asking them to amend the law," the affidavit of Debashish Chakraborty, chief electoral officer, ECI, said. But there was no reply. "Until there is amendment in the law, it will not be possible to include `None of the Above` panel in the EVM," the affidavit said.
SEC counsel, Sachin Shetye, told the court that due to the technical difficulty, it would not be possible to install such button on EVMs for the civic elections this month. Bedekar`s PIL points out that in the present system, if a voter wishes to cast a negative vote, he or she has to fill out a separate form, and the voter`s name is entered in a register.
The High Court has now asked the SEC to file its affidavit in reply on February 8.