The two-judge Bench of Uttrakhand High Court delivered its verdict on EVM and the challenge that the Election Commission had announced. The Petitioner Mr. Ramesh Pandey claimed himself to be Vice President of the State Congress Committee. The judgment could easily have been avoided as Mr. Ramesh Pandey had made no grievance before the Election Commission. In absence of due process being followed by the Petitioner, why should the High Court, which in the judgment has called itself to preserve, promote, nurture and maintain the independence of constitutional bodies failed to preserve the rule of law?

The star-studded but meritless petition raised just one important point, i.e. the result of EVM Hackathon could have had a bearing upon the seven election petitions pending before the High Court. The Court rightfully accepted this contention, but blamed the political parties for complaining so much against the EVMs, that the EC didn't see any other option but to have a Hackathon. In a sweeping statement and for larger public interest, the High Court restrained, even the members of the public from criticising the EVM! The ramification of such an order are huge and at the same time useless. It is not that the criticism of EVM has stopped, and that the Court has acted upon the same. Even otherwise, Election Commissions go through a trial and take a long time to come to a decision.

The judgment for the major part borrowed passages from the Election Commission Press Release, or from precedents of the Supreme Court. One wonders, why the High Court did not see that the Press Release was of 20th May, while the Petitioner approached the High Court only later in time, perhaps to create an excitement before the Hackathon?

One is also unsure if such measures are supported by the political party, or are an individual effort. If an individual, then surely such persons should not be allowed to gather fame using the name of the political parties. It is for our Courts to become more strict and enforce the rule of the law. On the other hand, the Hackathon fizzled out as no political party came forward to try and hack the machine. Overall, the Election Law and its functionaries were reduced to all noise and no show. Surely, we need effective Constitutional machinery, be it the Election Commission or the High Court.

 

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