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Business News/ News / India/  SC directs ECI to look into ‘extra vote to BJP’ allegation in Kerala mock poll; ‘alarming,’ says Supriya Sule
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SC directs ECI to look into ‘extra vote to BJP’ allegation in Kerala mock poll; ‘alarming,’ says Supriya Sule

Hearing petitions seeking cross-verification of votes cast on Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) with paper slips generated through the VVPAT system, the bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta emphasized the importance of sanctity in the electoral process.

VVPAT cross-verification case: SC directs ECI to investigate extra vote allegation in Kerala mock poll. Premium
VVPAT cross-verification case: SC directs ECI to investigate extra vote allegation in Kerala mock poll.

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to investigate the allegations that during a mock poll in Kasaragod, Kerala, four EVMs recorded one extra vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The top court observed that this is an electoral process, and there has to be sanctity to it. Let nobody harbour apprehensions that something expected is not being done.

Hearing petitions seeking cross-verification of votes cast on Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) with paper slips generated through the VVPAT system, the bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta emphasized the importance of sanctity in the electoral process. They asked the poll body to explain the detailed steps taken to ensure free and fair elections.

The court asked ECI counsel Maninder Singh to ‘look into it’.

Also Read: Lok Sabha elections 2024: What are VVPAT slips & what is the INDIA bloc's demand on this?

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), cited a report published by Manorama Online about the complaints raised regarding the mock polls conducted on the EVMs in Kerala's Kasargod constituency on April 17.

As per the report, both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) gave complaints to the District Collector that at least four electronic voting machines (EVM) erroneously registered extra votes in favour of the BJP.

According to reports, “At least four VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines printed one extra slip each with the BJP’s lotus symbol during a mock poll in Kerala’s Kasaragod on Wednesday, April 17."

The paper slip produced by the VVPAT can be unsealed and is stored in a sealed cover in case of dispute.

Currently, each Assembly segment's five randomly chosen EVMs' VVPAT slips are validated. The petitions ask for a cross-verification of each vote in response to the opposition's concerns and queries about the electronic voting machine technology.

Meanwhile, the opposition leaders have called it alarming, asserting that the incident highlights the urgent need for a thorough examination of voting infrastructure. “This incident once again highlights the urgent need for a thorough examination of our voting infrastructure. Every citizen deserves the assurance that their vote will be accurately recorded and counted," said Supriya Sule, NCP (Sharad Pawar) leader and Lok Sabha MP.

Opposition parties in the INDIA bloc have been demanding complete (100 per cent) counting of VVPATs to increase public confidence in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. The opposition alleges that the poll panel had refused to meet a delegation of party leaders from INDIA bloc on the issue.

Introduced first time in India in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, VVPAT is basically a ballot-less vote verification system connected with the EVM. The VVPAT generates a paper slip to be viewed by the voter and allows him/her to verify whether the vote was cast correctly on the EVM. The slip contains the name and symbol of the party they have voted for.

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Published: 18 Apr 2024, 01:00 PM IST
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