Kapil Sibal Takes Electoral Integrity Battle to Supreme Court: Calls for Transparency Measures in EVM Usage

Featured & Cover Kapil Sibal Takes Electoral Integrity Battle to Supreme Court Calls for Transparency Measures in EVM Usage

Kapil Sibal, a senior lawyer and prominent political figure, has approached the Supreme Court of India with a plea urging the court to direct the Election Commission (EC) to take critical steps to ensure transparency and integrity in the electoral process. Specifically, Sibal is advocating for the preservation of electronic voting machine (EVM) logs for a period of two to three years. Additionally, he is calling for the publication of voting records before the counting process begins.

Context and Background

The issue of EVM reliability has been a contentious topic in Indian politics for several years. EVMs were introduced to streamline the voting process and reduce instances of electoral fraud associated with paper ballots. However, concerns about their susceptibility to tampering and technical glitches have persisted. These concerns have been amplified by several political parties, particularly after the assembly elections where allegations of EVM manipulation were rife.

Sibal’s Plea to the Supreme Court

In his plea, Sibal argues that preserving EVM logs for an extended period would provide a verifiable audit trail that could be examined in cases of disputed election results. This measure, he contends, is necessary to uphold the sanctity of the democratic process. By retaining the logs, authorities and independent observers would have the opportunity to review the data to confirm the accuracy of the election results.

Furthermore, Sibal emphasizes the need for the EC to upload Form 17C, which contains detailed voting data, before the commencement of vote counting. This form, which is crucial for maintaining transparency, records the number of votes cast and the sequence in which they were cast. Making this data publicly available would allow political parties, candidates, and voters to independently verify the voting process’s integrity, thus enhancing trust in the electoral system.

Importance of EVM Logs and Form 17C

EVM logs serve as a digital record of all activities performed on the machines during the election. These logs include timestamps of when votes were cast and other critical data points that can help identify any irregularities or unauthorized access. By preserving these logs, the EC can provide a reliable method for forensic analysis if any discrepancies arise.

Form 17C, on the other hand, is a document mandated by the Representation of the People Act, 1951. It provides a summary of the total number of votes recorded in each EVM, along with details such as the names of the candidates and the number of votes each candidate received. Public access to Form 17C before vote counting can act as a preemptive measure to ensure transparency and address any potential allegations of vote tampering.

Legal and Political Ramifications

Sibal’s appeal to the Supreme Court is not merely a procedural request but carries significant legal and political implications. Legally, if the Supreme Court mandates the preservation of EVM logs and the publication of Form 17C data, it would set a precedent for future elections, ensuring a higher standard of accountability and transparency.

Politically, this move could address the skepticism and mistrust harbored by various political parties and sections of the electorate regarding the reliability of EVMs. In recent elections, parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have vocally alleged that EVMs were manipulated to favor the ruling party. These allegations, though not conclusively proven, have nonetheless cast a shadow over the credibility of the electoral process.

The Election Commission’s Stance

The EC has consistently defended the robustness and tamper-proof nature of EVMs. It has conducted multiple demonstrations and “EVM challenges” where political parties were invited to attempt tampering with the machines under controlled conditions. The EC maintains that no party has successfully compromised the integrity of EVMs during these challenges. Moreover, the EC has introduced Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines in several elections to add an extra layer of verification.


Kapil Sibal’s call for preserving EVM logs and publicizing voting records aims to bolster the transparency and trust in India’s electoral system. While the EC has taken steps to ensure the security and reliability of EVMs, Sibal’s proposals seek to address lingering doubts and enhance public confidence. The Supreme Court’s response to this plea could significantly influence the future of electoral integrity measures in India.

By implementing these measures, the EC can demonstrate its commitment to transparency and accountability, thereby strengthening the democratic process and reassuring voters that their votes are accurately counted and securely recorded.

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