The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Election Commission not to post any official, against whom disciplinary proceedings have been initiated in key positions, for poll duty during the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections to be held in two phases on 9 and 14 December.
The apex court, however, refused to direct the EC to install CCTV cameras inside polling booths. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said this after the poll panel submitted that it would not post any “tainted officers”, including those against whom disciplinary proceedings have already been initiated.
“We direct that the ECI shall not post any such officer against whom the disciplinary proceedings have been initiated in any key position in any district,” the bench said.
Regarding the plea for installation of CCTV cameras inside the polling booth, the bench observed that it cannot expose a voter on camera while he or she is casting vote.
“As far as prayer concerning installation of CCTV cameras inside the polling booth to watch the mobility of persons inside the polling booth and display of such videograph along with the number of votes polled, outside the polling booth on a display board is concerned, we are of the considered opinion that the same is not permissible and accordingly, the said prayer stands rejected,” it said.
The top court’s order came while hearing a plea filed by Prakash Joshi, secretary of the All India Congress Committee, in which he had also sought directions to the EC for framing guidelines for counting of votes through Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines.
During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench that regarding the prayer to implement instructions on the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) with VVPAT, the EC has already implemented it.
He said the poll panel already has guidelines for counting of votes through VVPATs.