The Election Commission of India (ECI) has for the past five or six years now, been battling fake, unverified and malicious allegations of electronic voting machines (EVMs) being ‘hacked’ in order to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Such allegations are mostly made by opposition parties whose electoral fortunes have sunk beyond repair, or the cheerleaders of such political forces in the media. Ever since the gang of opposition parties found it impossible to take on the BJP wave in whichever election was conducted, such fallacious claims of EVM hacking have been abundantly made. So far, the Election Commission only ignored, or at most, refuted such allegations.
Now however, the EC has had just about enough. The Election Commission has now launched an all-out offensive against criminals who without evidence, cast aspersions on the credibility of the commission which is famed worldwide for conducting the most complex elections seamlessly. According to an official statement issued by EC, a ‘fake’ news item dated December 21, 2017, ‘maliciously attributed’ that former Chief Election Commissioner of India TS Krishnamurthy had opined that a particular party won assembly elections by hacking EVMs. As such, the commission has now registered an FIR against miscreants trying to besmirch the EC’s and former CEC’s reputation.
On the directions of the EC, an FIR has been lodged by Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi, under the IPC Section 500 (punishment for defamation) and Representation of the People Act 1951 Section 128 (maintenance of secrecy of voting), 134 (breach of official duty in connection with elections). Former CEC T S Krishnamurthy also issued a fresh statement, which read, “It has been brought to my notice that a fake news which had appeared in a Hindi newspaper quite some time back is being activated and re-circulated as if that I express doubts about the credibility of the electronic voting machine in the conduct of elections in India…This is utterly false and mischievous to circulate a wrong impression in the ensuing elections. I would like to reiterate that the EVMs are most credible and I have no doubt about its efficacy and reliability.”
With the Election Commission beginning to take legal action against anyone who without evidence chooses to spread fake news of EVMs being hacked in order to benefit one particular party, a new dawn in the political landscape of India seems to have arrived. Baseless accusations will no longer be tolerated by the EC, and anyone making them must prove their assertions, or be ready to spend time in jail cells. While such action should have been initiated by the EC much before, it is better late than never.