State election commissions raised “grave concerns” about an Election Commission of India order restricting the sale of electronic voting machines by two public sector undertakings, PTI reported on Monday, citing a Right to Information response.
The country’s poll monitor had issued a circular on May 26, 2017, which stated that “the design of an Election Commission of India EVM, as approved by the Technical Experts Committee, shall not be used for selling EVMs to anyone else”. It also said that a separate design shall be made for sale to state election commissions and foreign electoral management bodies.
The state poll bodies, however, expressed concerns at this directive. At the All India conference of State Election Commissioners, held in November 2017 at Hanuwantiya in Madhya Pradesh, the state bodes said the circular “will further create confusion both among voters and the political parties about the use and credibility of the machines”.
“Since the election process for both the Election Commission of India and State Election Commissions is the same, therefore, it was not understood as to why the Election Commission has directed Bharat Electronic Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited not to sell their designated machines to anyone without their permission,” the minutes of the meeting read.
Since both the central poll monitor and the state bodies acquire EVMs from the two companies, there cannot be machines with different designs, the minutes reportedly said. The attendees also decided to take up the matter with the central poll monitor for clarification.