Hacking and Indian Elections

A Part of India is going to elections today. Five states namely Tamilnadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, and Pondicherry are electing representatives for their respective state assemblies. One feature of this election is that "Electronic Voting Machines" will be used in all the states to record, process and store the votes cast. In the process, the Electronic Documents as defined by Sec 2(f) of the ITA-2000 will come into play.

It may be observed that this is the first election after the passage of the Information Technology Act after which electronic documents have come to be legally recognized.

The interesting issues to be discussed are,

"Does the earlier amendments to the People's Representation Act" enabling electronic voting get superseded by the ITA-2000?

If there is a dispute on "Rigging" and "Tampering of Voting Machines", can action be taken under Section 66 of the ITA-2000 for "Hacking"?

If there is a dispute on the corruption of data due to an induced system error, can it be construed as a "Virus" and action initiated under the ITA-2000?

Can "Impersonation" amount to "Unauthorized Access" to the system?


When the Election Commission hears case of "Booth Capturing" and "Mass Bogus Voting", it may have to be prepared for the counsels of the candidates invoking ITA-2000 to argue in their favour.

Mr Gill the Chief Election Commissioner has gone on record that the next General Election, may be conducted entirely on Electronic voting machines.

Before the entire country goes into "Cyber Voting", a thought has to be reserved for the need to educate all the Election officials on "Cyber Laws" and the feasibility of allowing "Voting Through Internet" using a "Valid Digital Signature"...atleast in lieu of "Postal Ballots"

May 10, 2001 

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