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Business News/ News / India/  SC reserves verdict on EVM-VVPAT cross-verification pleas as EC denies ‘extra vote for BJP’ reports | 10 highlights
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SC reserves verdict on EVM-VVPAT cross-verification pleas as EC denies ‘extra vote for BJP’ reports | 10 highlights

SC reserved its verdict on petitions seeking 100% cross-verification of EVM votes with VVPATs. The plea by ADR highlighted the lack of voter verification procedures, suggesting longer display of VVPAT slips. Various suggestions were made during the hearing to enhance electoral transparency.

Lok Sabha Elections: A Polling official after collecting EVMs and VVPAT machines takes a nap at a centre in Dehradun on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)Premium
Lok Sabha Elections: A Polling official after collecting EVMs and VVPAT machines takes a nap at a centre in Dehradun on Wednesday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)

The Supreme Court of India on Thursday reserved its verdict on a clutch of petitions demanding 100% cross-verification of votes cast on EVMs with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs). A plea was filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) seeking cross verification of votes cast by voters as ‘counted as recorded’ in the EVM with the VVPAT

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The petitioner had mentioned that there is no procedure marked by the Election Commission of India (ECI) for the voter to verify that that their vote has been counted as recorded causing a dent in voter verifiability. 

The requirement of the voters verifying that their votes have been "recorded as cast" is somewhat met when the VVPAT slip is displayed for about seven seconds after pressing the button on the EVM through a transparent window for the voters to verify that their vote has been recorded on the internally printed VVPAT slip before the slip falls into the 'ballot box', the plea stated.

EVM-VVPAT case: 10 points 

-The Supreme Court bench hearing the petition on VVPAT-EVM vote cross-verification told the Election Commission that they need to explain the steps taken to maintain the ‘sanctity’ of the electoral process. "Let nobody have apprehension that something which is expected is not being done," the bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta said.

-During the hearing Advocate Nizam Pasha suggested that voters be able to take home the VVPAT slip after they have cast their votes. 

-The SC bench flagged the aspect of privacy on the suggested solution. To this Pasha said, "Voter privacy cannot be used to defeat voter's rights."

-During the hearing advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the petitioners suggested that the light (currently on for just seven seconds) should be on for a long time so that a voter can see the VVPAT slip going into the box after the vote is cast.

-Senior advocate Sanjay Hedge said there should be a separate audit to add greater credibility to the counting process

-The petitioners have also 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.

-The petitioners cited a report on mock poll result in Kerala's Kasaragod, where three extra votes were recorded for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The EC later claimed that the report was false

-On April 16, the Supreme Court had deprecated criticism of Electronic Voting Machines (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 VVPAT is an independent vote verification system that enables an elector to see whether their vote has been cast correctly

-The VVPAT that is placed next to the EVM is a polling booth, generates a paper slip that is kept in a sealed cover and can be opened if there is a dispute in the vote cast. Currently, VVPAT slips of five randomly selected EVMs in every assembly segment are verified

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Sayantani
Sayantani is a Chief Content Producer with Livemint. Her interests are politics, war, and conflict. Off-duty, she explores cultural history and the 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed'
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Published: 18 Apr 2024, 05:51 PM IST
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