In a bid to empower citizens ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday, 10 March, introduced the latest version of the cVIGIL app, where citizens can record violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) on video and send it to the election authorities for appropriate action.
The app, which stands for “citizens’ vigil”, was tested on a pilot basis during the polls in Karnataka’s Bengaluru and was initially launched on 3 July last year.
“By using the cVIGIL app, citizens can record on his Android mobile and promptly to election authorities report any violation of Model Code of Conduct, any incident of intimidation or inducement within minutes of having witnessed them and without having to go to the office of the returning officer,” said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, as per ANI.
The app works only when the model code of conduct (MCC) is in place.
The EC said that it will “hide the complainant’s phone number and identity so as to encourage information against high and mighty without any risk of subsequent possible backlash.”
The poll panel, while launching the app, had said that it was bringing out this tool as there have been instances when vested interests have misled surveillance teams and directed them to a place away from the scene of poll code violation.
"The photos and videos will be automatically tagged by the geographical information system, and hence the surveillance teams will be directed to the correct place of incident where the poll code is being violated," EC had said, as per PTI.
This app will ensure prompt reporting of MCC violation with proper evidence and in a time-bound manner. This is an initiative where the EC can be seen walking the talk.Sandeep Saxena, Deputy Election Commissioner, to PTI
He said a person using the app will not be able to save the photos or videos he wants to report on his phone and will have to send them within five minutes to the local EC-appointed field unit, which will then spring into action to check the violation.
If the complaint is correct, the person who sent the photo or the video clip will be intimated within 100 minutes, he added.
A senior official said violations such as distribution of illegal inducements, black money and hate speech can be recorded via the app and sent to the EC for action.
"The app requires an Android smartphone equipped with a camera, good Internet connection and GPS access. The operating system should be Android jellybean and above," the EC had said in an advisory.
It added that "each reported incident is tracked and scrutinised from the beginning to the end, thus bringing accountability into the system."
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)