SC Issues Notice On Plea By 21 Political Parties For 50% VVPAT Verification

The Supreme Court today issued notice on a petition filed by leaders from 21 political parties seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India(ECI) to randomly verify at least 50 per cent votes using Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) in the polls to 17th Lok Sabha. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has asked the ECI to give its response on March 25. The petition also challenges the decision of ECI to verify VVPAT of only one randomly selected booth of a constituency. The petitioners say that this will account only for 0.44% of the votes polled. This guideline defeats the entire purpose of VVPAT and makes the same “ornamental” without actual substance, they state.

The petition refers to the decision in Dr. Subramanian Swamy v ECI (2013) 10 SCC 500 which held that VVPAT is an “indispensable requirement of free and fair elections”. To give meaningful effect to this judgment, at least 50% of VVPAT should be verified. Also Read – When Interpretation Of ‘Text Mode Document’ Turned Fate Of Kamal Nath’s Plea In MP Polls Case [Read Judgment] “A 50% randomised verification in each assembly constituency/assembly segment is a reasonable sample size to both (a) allay the fears of the general public with regard to EVM tampering and; (b) be a statistically significant sample size to ensure that EVMs are working properly,” the plea said.

VVPAT is a paper slip generated by the Electronic Voting Machine everytime a voter casts his vote, recording the party to whom the vote was made. This is kept in a sealed cover to be opened only in case of a future dispute. The ECI had informed the Court in 2017 that VVPAT will be used 100% in future elections. However, the decision taken by the ECI in July 2018 was to verify VVPAT of a randomly selected polling station from a constituency. The petitioners are : N Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) Sharad Pawar (NCP) K C Venugopal (INC) Derek O Brien (TMC) Sharad Yadav (LTJD) Akhilesh Yadav (SP) Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP) M K Stalin (DMK) T K Ranga Rajan (CPI(M)) S Sudhakar Reddu (CPI) Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) Arvind Kejriwal (AAP) Farookh Abdullah (NC) K Danish Ali (RJD) Ajith Singh (RLD) M Badrudding Ajmal (AIUDF) Jithin Ram Manji (Hindusthani Awam Morcha) Ashok Kumar Singh (JVM) Khorrum Anis Omar (IUML) Prof.Kodanadram (Telengana Jana Samithi) K G Kenye (Naga Peoples Front)

 

 

SC seeks EC reply on plea against ward-wise vote count

supreme courtThe Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Election Commission (EC) on a plea seeking stoppage of ward-wise counting of votes on the ground that the declaration of result of every polling booth strikes at the root of right to privacy attached to voting.

A bench comprising justices Dipak Mishra and N V Ramana issued notice to the EC and sought its reply by May 21 on a proposal that the result of every parliamentary constituency be declared as a whole and not through ward-wise counting of votes of every electronic voting machine (EVM).

The petition said, “The result of every EVM must not be disclosed.”

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Punjab-based advocate Yogesh Gupta submitting that “the uniform way of declaration of result for the entire constituency as a whole would bring balanced growth and balanced funding and it would also reduce cases fuelled by political vendetta, ill will and hatred”.

The petition, which has come four days ahead of the counting of votes for ongoing Lok Sabha election, said the result is again going to be declared by announcing the outcome of every EVM which would lead to adverse impact on the voters as the political parties would harass the electorate in areas where it has not received the votes.

(Source: PTI)