by Jag Mohan Thaken

Chandigarh, India. While deciding a case, Lord Hewart, the then Lord Chief Justice of England, laid down a dictum– “Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done”.

“It is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”.

This dictum must be a deciding factor for all the authorities, everywhere, every time. When an authority’s decision creates some doubt in the minds of the concerned parties or the public, the authority loses its credibility and it should either resign on moral grounds or mend its ways to prove its reliability.

The election Commission of India (ECI), while conducting the general Lok Sabha elections during April to June, 2024, whose results were  declared on June 4, it has not only got criticism from different corners for its actions, but also diminished its image of impartiality.



The major point of criticism was the mismatch of votes polled and votes counted, thus labelling the transparency of EVM’s as doubtful.

Former president of Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi @RahulGandhi on June 16, showed his concern about the transparency in electoral process, “EVMs in India are a “black box,” and nobody is allowed to scrutinize them. Serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process. Democracy ends up becoming a sham and prone to fraud when institutions lack accountability.”

In a statement released on June 17, Former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sardar Sukh Bir Singh Badal has called for an independent and transparent probe at the highest judicial level into allegations of the nationwide fudging of figures and hacking of EVM machines in order to manipulate the people’s mandate in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Citing the huge mismatch in figures released by the Election Commission of India for polling across the country, and not just in Punjab, the Akali leader strongly emphasized that he was not referring to these mismatch mysteries in Punjab alone. “Therefore, no one should think that I am offering it as an explanation for SAD’s or Punjab results. I am talking about the entire country.”

Mr. Badal said that he was “shocked beyond belief” by reports of mismatch in EVM figures in 539 out of 542 constituencies which went to the polls. Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Amreli (Gujarat) are the only exceptions to this mismatch mystery.

He pointed out that there was a mysterious link between the size of the mismatch and the final result.” The differences between the first and the final figures of EVM released by the ECI at many places was over 12% percent – far more than the difference between the vote share of winners and losers. The higher the mismatch, the higher the number of BJP seats. He said that the first and the final count showed a mysterious hike of 12.54% in ODISHA where the BJP got 20 out of 21 seats. Similarly, this hike was 12.54% in Andhra Pradesh where NDA won 21 out of 25. In Assam, the hike was 9.50% and NDA got 11 out of 14 seats.”

Referring to Punjab, Mr. Badal pointed out that there was a 6.94 % difference between EC’s own first and final count in the EVM votes alone. Incidentally, the BJP vote share rose to the state.

Even more important, the Election Commission had claimed before the Supreme Court on May 25 that there can be no change in the EVM count as the machines are fool proof.

On the eve of vote counting day, Mallikarjun Kharge, president of Indian National Congress, in an open appeal to all the Civil Servants and Officers, involved in election process wrote, “Indian National Congress now urges the entire bureaucracy, to adhere to the Constitution, enact their duties, and serve the nation, without fear, favor and ill-will against anybody. Do not get intimidated by anyone. Do not bow down to any unconstitutional means. Do not be afraid of anyone and discharge your duties, based on merit, on this counting day. We owe it to future generations, a vibrant Democracy and a long-lasting Constitution, as penned by the makers of modern India.”

Why did Mr. Kharge have to float an open appeal before the counting of votes? Was he having some doubts on the functioning of ECI, who was entirely responsible for conducting the elections in a manner completely free, fair and without favor or fear?

Rahul Gandhi on its X account @RahulGandhi again on June 17, wrote, “When democratic institutions are captured, the only safeguard lies in electoral processes that are transparent to the public. EVM is currently a black box. EC must either ensure complete transparency of the machines and processes, or abolish them.” Doesn’t it reflect his doubt in transparency of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and processes?

Does Mr. Badal’s inferences not support the doubts of Kharge and Rahul Gandhi?

“Mr. Badal said that he was ‘shocked beyond belief’ by reports of mismatch in EVM figures in 539 out of 542 constituencies which went to the polls. Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Amreli (Gujarat) are the only exceptions to this mismatch mystery.”

The disbelief in the process and transparency during the elections was not only reflected at top level, but was also reported at booth level. Just to mention here, we are quoting an example of a booth number 129 at Behal village under the Loharu Assembly constituency in the Bhiwani district of Haryana, where one Mr. Balbir Singh was an authorized agent of a Congress candidate.

In a complaint sent to his candidate, Rao Dan Singh, Mr. Singh alleges, “At booth number 129, we were three agents, one each on behalf of INC, BJP and JJP. The police administration directed us to sit outside of the polling booth, on this I gave the reference of the ECI’s guidelines, but the police personnel not only unheeded my plea, but also misbehaved with me and threatened to throw me out”.

When contacted personally, Mr. Balbir Singh reported to this author that same was the position at booth number 123 to 130 in Behal, where agents were directed to sit outside the polling booth. He alleges that later on he came to know that this was done in entire Bhiwani, on the instructions of RO.

Balbir Singh quotes the handbook for polling agents and pleads, “Under Chapter 2, Para 5.1 of the handbook, ‘The Presiding Officer will make arrangements to provide seats to the Polling Agents at such place where they will have adequate opportunity of identifying electors and observing the entire operation, particularly of the table where the Control Unit of the EVM will be kept, the movement of the elector from the Presiding Officer’s table to the Voting compartment (where the Balloting units and VVPAT will be kept) and the elector leaving after he has recorded his vote inside the Voting compartment.”

Mr. Singh questions, “How will an agent see the transparent voting process, when he is even not allowed to sit inside the polling booth and forced to sit outside?”

If the allegations of Mr. Balbir Singh are true, how can one believe that the voting process was free, fair, impartial and beyond fear. Doesn’t it reflect that the Role of Election Commission of India does not seem beyond doubt?

Keeping away the eyes and ears (polling agents) of the political parties from the polling system and process of voting, doesn’t show that the election conducting officials, police personnel and administration are being used to benefit the ruling party and to influence the mandate in an illegal way to get a win for the governance and a defeat for the opponents?

We should heed the warning of Akali Dal leader, Sukhbir Badal, who warns, “If people’s votes can be changed and losers can be shown as winners, then the destiny of the country goes into hands which people don’t trust. Then democracy becomes a fraud worse than dictatorship.”

The public will have to be aware for its rights, but who will make them aware, remains the question.

About the Author:

Jag Mohan Thaken, a Retired Senior Bank Manager. A Senior Journalist, Columnist & Political Analyst – Writes on current, social and political issues for some English newspapers and news sites as a freelancer. Also raises issues with undying zeal to fight against tyranny and challenges to humanity.