Supreme Court refuses to entertain PIL for audit of EVMs; says disclosure of source code can lead to hacking | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking an audit of the software used in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). [Sunil Ahya v. Election Commission Of India]

The PIL essentially sought an independent audit of the source code of the EVMs and prayed that the audit report be placed in public domain.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra observed that the source code of the software cannot be put in public domain, as it will make the EVMs susceptible to hacking.

Everything put out in the public domain from the Supreme Court goes through a security check… but the source code cannot be put out in the public domain…you know when it will get hacked,” CJI Chandrachud observed.

The apex court also opined that since the matter involved a policy issue, it was not inclined to interfere.

During the hearing, the Bench asked the petitioner Sunil Ahya if there was any material that casts doubt on EVM machines. 

Ahya responded that the source code is the brain behind EVMs and that citizens are voting through a system that is not audited. He further submitted that he made three representations to the Election Commission of India (ECI), to no avail.

Observing that the ECI is authorised to conduct elections under Article 324 of the Constitution, the Court said that no actionable material has been placed before it to show that the poll body has acted in breach of its constitutional mandate.

The Court also noted that the petitioner had earlier moved a similar plea before the 2019 general elections. Back then, it was held that due to impending elections, it was not possible to get into the plea.

The petitioner had filed a PIL on the issue in 2020 as well. He was permitted to make a representation before the ECI. The Bench was told by the petitioner that the ECI had not responded to his representations, which is why he moved the apex court.


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