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EVM-VVPAT case: SC reserves its order on pleas seeking 100 per cent cross-verification of votes

The VVPAT is an independent vote verification system which enables electors to see whether their votes have been cast correctly. The SC took up the case when the country is undergoing Lok Sabha elections and the first phase of polls of seven phases concluded recently.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: April 24, 2024 15:16 IST
The Supreme Court of India.
Image Source : X The Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on petitions seeking 100 per cent verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) votes with their Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPA). Earlier, the top court sought some clarification from the Election Commission of India. The top court took up a batch of pleas seeking complete cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta is scheduled to pronounce the directions on the plea. Earlier, the Supreme Court bench reserved the order on April 18.

Underscoring the importance of voter satisfaction and trust in the electoral system, the top court had during the hearing told petitioners, who sought its direction to go back to using ballot papers not to suspect the efficacy of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and appreciate if the Election Commission does good work.

NGO 'Association for Democratic Reforms' (ADR), one of the petitioners, sought reversal of the poll panel's 2017 decision to replace the transparent glass on VVPAT machines with an opaque glass through which a voter can see the slip only when the light is on for seven seconds.

During the hearing, which spanned for nearly two days, the bench had interacted for nearly an hour with senior Deputy Election Commissioner Nitesh Kumar Vyas to understand the functioning of EVMs and told advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO that voter satisfaction and trust are at the core of the electoral process.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the Election Commission, had submitted that EVMs are standalone machines and cannot be tampered with but possibility of human error cannot be ruled out.

On April 16, the top court had deprecated criticism of EVMs and calls for reverting to ballot papers, saying the electoral process in India is a "humongous task" and attempts should not be made to "bring down the system".

The seven-phase Lok Sabha polls began on April 19 and the second phase is slated to be held on April 26.

The ADR has sought matching the count in EVMs with votes that have been verifiably "recorded as cast" and to ensure the voter is able to verify through VVPAT slip that his vote, as recorded on the paper slip, has been "counted as recorded".

(With PTI inputs)

Also read: Sam Pitroda advocates 50 per cent inheritance tax in India, backs Congress' stand on wealth redistribution

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