New Delhi: The successful deployment of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in Indian elections is the "envy" of many countries, a former chief election commissioner (CEC) says.
"Our EVMs have been described glowingly, interestingly enough also by many high courts in judgments while examining petitions in the years gone by. It is, as I have often stated, an efficient and tamper-proof machine," Chawla told IANS.
"It is, of course environment-friendly - it saves millions of trees from being otherwise chopped down. And can you imagine getting the election results in a country as large as ours, virtually by the end of a single day of counting," he added.
"Many countries envy our success."
The EVMs, which are pivotal to elections in India, were first used in 50 polling stations of Kerala's Parur assembly constituency in May 1982.
However, the machines could not be used after 1983 following a Supreme Court order that necessitated legal backing for their use. Parliament then amended the law in December 1988 empowering the Election Commission to use them.
Since November 1998, EVMs have been used in every parliamentary and assembly election. In the general elections of 2004, over a million EVMs were used across the country. Data for the current elections is still being compiled
The EVM's have been designed by the Election Commission of India in collaboration with two public sector undertakings - Bharat Electronics Limited (Bangalore) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (Hyderabad).
Some of the benefits of EVMs include reduction in the time taken to cast votes and declare results when compared with the paper ballot system. They are also easier to transport as compared to the bulky ballot boxes of yore.
One EVM can hold the names of a maximum of 64 candidates and record 3,840 votes. It can be used in areas without electricity as it runs on batteries.