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Tuesday, April 16 2024
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Supreme Court Issues Notice to Election Commission on VVPAT Verification

VVPAT
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The Supreme Court on Monday, issued notice to the Election Commission (EC) in response to a writ petition seeking mandatory cross-verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips.

Currently, VVPAT verification is conducted on votes from five randomly selected EVMs per Assembly segment. The petitioner argues for tallying every EVM vote with VVPAT slips and allowing voters to physically confirm their votes by placing VVPAT slips into a ballot box.
Lawyer Arun Kumar Agrawal challenged ECI guidelines mandating sequential VVPAT verification, citing unnecessary delays. The petition proposes simultaneous VVPAT verification with additional personnel to expedite the process, estimating completion of counting of votes within five to six hours per constituency.

Despite significant expenditure on VVPATs, only a fraction of slips have been verified. Concerns about discrepancies between EVM and VVPAT counts have been raised by experts. The petition highlighted the need for voters to verify their votes physically.
Alternatively, the petitioner suggests making the glass of VVPAT machines transparent and increasing the duration of light to allow voters to see the paper recording their votes being dropped into the drop box.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh in a tweet has welcomed this and said that it is the first important step, but for it to be meaningful, the matter should be decided before the election commission. He wrote, “The Supreme Court has issued a notice today to the Election Commission on the issue of VVPATs. It bears constant repetition that the Election Commission has refused to meet a delegation of INDIA party leaders who have been demanding 100% VVPATs in order to increase public confidence in EVMs and to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. The notice is an important first step, but for it to be meaningful, the matter should be decided before the elections commence.”

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