HC stays order holding EVMs as information under RTI

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HC stays order holding EVMs as information under RTI

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has stayed a Central Information Commission (CIC) order which held that electronic voting machines (EVMs) come within the definition of ‘information’ under the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The court was hearing a plea on Monday filed by the Election Commission challenging a CIC order dated February 12 which held that EVMs are within the definition of “information” under Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005.

Justice V. Kameswar Rao has sought a response from the CIC and RTI applicant Razaak K Haidar, who had sought access to information related to EVMs maintained by the poll panel.

Haidar’s application was rejected by the Central Public Information Officer after which Haider filed an appeal with the CIC.

Representing the EC, advocates Sandeep Sethi and Sidhant Kumar told the court that an EVM does not fall under the scope of the RTI Act.

The EC in its plea said that the CIC order is arbitrary and contrary.

The counsel said that the EC is a specialized body established under the Constitution of India and it has been entrusted with the superintendence, direction and control of elections.

It employs EVMs for recording votes in accordance with the law, the EC said.

The poll panel added that EVMs are maintained and utilized in conducting elections all over the country in accordance with the law and a small number of EVMs are used for the purpose of training election officials and for awareness programmes.

It said it does not maintain any EVM in sample or model form.

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