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Building a Responsible Cyber Society…Since 1998

The claim of Saurabh Chaudhary that EVMs can be tampered and the demo he ran in the Delhi Assembly is a fraud on the Indian public.

Mr Chaudhary brought his own EVM lookalike which had a self introduced code which could render it to function in a particular way. He used this to demonstrate that EVMs can be tampered with.

If this logic can be applied to any demo, I can bring a Mobile or Computer with pre-inserted virus and say that all computers behaves in a particular manner. If this argument has to be extended then we need to also state how the malicious code can be introduced in Computers or EVMs that are not under our control.

We had a similar situation some time back when a technology expert demonstrated that the Bank’s Internet Banking systems could be tampered with a user side virus which carries out as a “Man in the Browser” attack. It was with the disclosure that it is true only of that virus is present in the computer. Since we know that there are many ways that a computer of the public can be infected, the demo was legitimate and urged the Banks to introduce counter safety measures.

In the EVM issue, the devices are always with the Election Commission and its officers. Changing of the mother boards in say 10000 EVMs require 10000 fraudulent mother boards to be prepared and installed in the EVMs. It requires compromise of the human beings more than the machines themselves. Unless all the EC members are cheats, the allegation is an empty allegation and not a realistic process.

If Mr Chaudhary had shown that an EVM is susceptible to a WiFi signal or some other remote signal system which could alter the embedded code or otherwise tamper with the results, then there would have been some credibility.

The detractors of EVMs are quoting Mr Subramanya Swamy and GVN Rao who are BJP sympathizers. They may aswell quote me also since all of us have made statements about the tamperability of EVMs in different contexts. But EC has taken some counter steps including the VVPAT to address the vulnerabilities pointed out.

Now EC has also given an opportunity to the EVM detractors to prove that the machine can be tampered with in a hackathon invitation. But it is necessary for the detractors to prove that EVM is hackable while it is in the custody of the EC and not when it is taken over unless they also prove that a large number of EVMs can be taken over and manipulated.

It is ofcourse possible as in the days of booth capturing that EVM booths can be captured and machines tampered with. But today CCTVs do watch over such intrusions and representatives of all parties are present in the polling booth. Hence unless it is a security compromised area such as the parts of Kashmir or Naxal infected areas, capturing the EVM booths and changing the mother boards is not possible elsewhere.

Comparisons with some foreign systems are also not valid since the systems used are different from the stand alone machines used in India.

Political parties are raising this issue only to defame the Election Commission which has been hailed world over. They should stop this short term publicity stunts in the interest of the country’s reputation as a large democracy.

As an Information Security observer, I would like to add that the EC need not be complacent and should always be alert to the possibility that new technologies can be used to tamper any electronic device. If so, it should happen at the manufacturing level and hence proper controls there are required. EC may continue to review the security measures and take necessary measures.

I would not like to discuss any other speculative vulnerabilities in the public but express the confidence that EC should have access to proper security advise with which they can take all measures that are required to keep the possibility of frauds or errors within a range of probability within which the risk can be absorbed.

EC should not agree to some suggestions made by AAP that the voter should be asked to testify if the VVPAT coupon now shows what he himself voted. AAP is capable of bribing some voters to say that the VVPAT coupon is showing some thing different from what he swears.

Similarly, EC should not succumb to the pressure and re-introduce paper ballots just to satisfy the critics. It is even more vulnerable to tampering.

I hope that after today’s meeting of all Political parties with the EC, the controversy is laid to rest.


Karnan is as much a fugitive as Vijay Mallya

Posted by Vijayashankar Na on May 12, 2017
Posted in Cyber Law  | No Comments yet, please leave one

The drama played by the Justice Karnan  having been convicted for 6 months imprisonment and suspension of judicial powers indicates that he is now standing in the shoes of a convict evading arrest.

The rumors floated by one of his lawyers that he may be in Nepal or Bangladesh etc while he is available to his lawyers to sign an affidavit in front of a Notary makes him a self declared fugitive from law.

There is a rumour that he may move the International Court of Justice to claim that injustice has been done to him like in the case of Mr Jadhav by Pakistan Military Court.

I donot see much difference in his conduct from that of Mr Vijay Mallya who is holed out in London. In fact, Mr Vijay Mallya appears to be in comparison a better gentleman than Mr Karnan because Mr Mallya is only fighting his financial charges and not denigrating the country and its democratic institutions which Karnan is trying to do.

What surprises me however is that many in the law community are standing in support of Mr Karnan for their own reasons. Most of these lawyers have a grudge against Judges in general and the Judges in Supreme Court in particular and find Mr Karnan a hero who has stood upto the mighty.

Their present wrath on the Supreme Court judges may be genuine because they feel that the Collegium system of appointment is not transparent, there is nepotism, there is corruption etc. Since Mr Karnan’s problems originated because of his complaints about his brother judges that they are corrupt, some of the lawyers think he is a crusader like Mr Arvind Kejriwal and deserves to be supported.

However, the statements that Indian Judiciary is corrupt is a generic statement similar to what we say about all politicians or all bureaucrats being corrupt. Such statements may be fine for a discussion in a party but not to be highlighted in the national and international media to further personal interests.

Besides some bad elements who may be present or perhaps are definitely present, Indian Judiciary still has some committed and principled Judges and it is uncharitable to carry individual grudges against some in the Judiciary to the entire community and dishearten even those who are honest and dedicated.

If the system of appointment of Judges is incorrect and not transparent, we have every right to fight for it. My lawyer friends should continue to fight for this cause.

But the same lawyers failed to support Modi’s Government when there was the difference between the Government and the then CJI because they had their own prejudices against Mr Modi which were more important to them than Judicial reform.

Today their prejudice for Karnan is making them take up cudgels for a person who is bent upon destroying the credibility of the Indian Judicial system.

This appears to me a hypocritical attitude.

Karnan is not fighting against the restoration of NJAC or some thing similar. He is only fighting what he calls as harassment of a “Dalit Judge”. He has in the past also raised the religion card Hindus Vs Muslims and Christians etc. He basically represents a corrupt mind that is dysfunctional to the society and will be detrimental to the society in the long run. If left unchecked he will divide the Judicial society on religion and caste basis and has to be checked before further damage can be done.

Mr Karnan has shown scant regard for the higher Court by passing his own Kangaroo Court order sentencing 7 Supreme Court judges to 5 years imprisonment without a trial while his lawyers cry injustice that he was himself sentenced by the Supreme Court without trial.

Besides, he is absconding like a common criminal and not surrendering before the Court.

We therefore have no reason to extend our support to Mr Karnan. He needs to be condemned as a person who is trying to denigrate the whole system of Judiciary in India and making our country a laughing stock in the eyes of the world.

The lawyers who have now filed a review petition before the Supreme Court for recall of the order have raised several legal issues including that the “Constitution” does not provide for dismissal of a High Court judge except by impeachment process and Supreme Court has no powers against High Court Judges except to decide on appeal of their decisions.

Their argument may indicate a lacuna in our Constitution that needs to be corrected. According to his detractors which include the Supreme Court judges themselves, Mr Karnan’s orders appear to be the decisions of a person who has lost his mental balance and hence does not fall under “Recognized Legal Contracts” let alone “Judicial Decisions”. Hence to defend them on “Constitutional Rights” is unjustified.

I donot see that it was the intention of the Constitution that a mentally unsound person could continue to occupy a Judicial position and exercise the constitutional privileges meant for the Chair.

If this indiscipline shown by Mr Karnan is not curbed, tomorrow we will have a judicial chaos in the Country with different High Court judges passing orders against brother judges and Supreme Court judges including orders to arrest them. It is better not to discuss the ugly consequences of such a possibility.

Mr Karnan and now his lawyers are giving a handle to Indian Anti Nationals to cock a snook at Indian Democracy.

If we dispassionately look at the developments of Mr Karnan Vs Supreme Court, it appears that Mr Karnan is fit to be declared as either

a) A person of unsound mind and hence all his actions are to be ignored or

b) A person who is an anti national who wants Indian Democratic reputation to be brought down in the eyes of the world

If the first presumption is taken, the review petition has to be dismissed forthwith.

If the second presumption is taken, the trial should be upgraded to a trial under other sections of IPC applicable to anti nationals and the appropriate punishments are considered.

If both the Supreme Court and the lawyers of Mr Karnan want a middle ground, the petition may be  dismissed on the grounds that the signature of Mr Karnan on the affidavit needs to be attested by his personal appearance since there is a probability that it could be a forgery.

It may be taken up again if Mr Karnan surrenders and appears in person.

In the meantime the Notary who attested the signature could be summoned to testify if the signature is true and if so, why the Notary knowing fully well that the person swearing before him was a fugitive from law, did not inform the Police voluntarily.

If Supreme Court is lenient on Karnan because he was a “Judge”, then it would indicate that Supreme Court is discriminating between a common citizen and a past Judge. They will not be able to exercise authority in the case of Mr Vijay Mallya who may raise a defense that the Court is  not consistent.


Also Read

Curious case of Justice CS Karnan: How he defied the Supreme Court and created legal history

The Supreme Court Order Sentencing Justice Karnan to Six Months’ Imprisonment Sets A Wrong Precedent

Justice Karnan vs SC: Playing the lead in his own courtroom drama

Where is justice Karnan? Police struggle to arrest judge convicted by SC

CS Karnan vs Supreme Court: Ongoing stand-off a national shame, harms dignity of Indian judiciary

‘Missing’ Justice Karnan files counter appeal in Supreme Court

Justice CS Karnan ‘missing’, police of 3 states can’t find him

15-yr run: From AIADMK booth agent to judge to jail

Why are India’s top judges doubting each others’ sanity?

At Naavi.org 

Justice Karnan escalates fight with the system

A Sad Day for Judiciary.. at Madras High Court