New Delhi, July 10 : The growing political distrust against the electronic voting machines Friday reached the Supreme Court with a lawsuit demanding formation of an expert panel to examine functioning of the machines and to ascertain whether they are tamper-proof.

Two officials of Hyderabad-based Election Watch Group and two electronic engineers jointly moved the apex court, contending that it is entirely possible to tamper with the software of the machine and rig the election.

The lawsuit sought formation of the panel to examine trustworthiness of EVMs in the poll process and to decide if it needs to be improved or altogether abandoned in favour of the old ballot papers.

Election Watch officials V.V. Rao and engineers A. Kankipati and Y. Vasaya contended in their lawsuit that "several experts and election watch groups and individuals, who have been monitoring the election process, have found that EVM could be manipulated and tampered."

"They have analysed the results in several constituencies, which indicate that there is something drastically wrong with the EVMs," the petitioners claimed.

The lawsuit filed through counsel Sanjay Parekh also raised the issue of secrecy of electors' vote, saying the EVMs are not able to even protect the secrecy of voters and the votes cast by them.

Parekh is likely to apprise the court early next week of his lawsuit and seek its early hearing.

The lawsuit claimed that even the two expert panels appointed by the Election Commission in 1990 and 2005 to examine the trustworthiness of EVMs had indicated that there were several lacunae in their functioning and they need rectification.

"These factors are cumulatively creating a serious situation for sustaining a democracy based on free and fair election," said the lawsuit.

"The Election Commission of India has a constitutional obligation to ensure that the elections are conducted in free and fair manner," said the petition.

The petition has been filed in the wake of several political leaders belonging to rival camps raising doubts over the trustworthiness of EVMs and demanding their substitution by the good old ballot papers.

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