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)



Vulnerable children seek promises from political parties

Vulnerable childrenVulnerable children from across the country Wednesday put together a manifesto seeking certain things for themselves in the promises made by political parties for the Lok Sabha polls.
A vulnerable child is defined as being under the age of 18 years and at high risk of lacking adequate care and protection. Such children also do not have social safety networks to depend upon to manage the risk they are exposed to.
The manifesto came after a year-long campaign initiated by World Vision India, in partnership with 160 other organisations. The organisers conducted state-level assemblies of vulnerable children in 20 states. “Children should be at the centre stage and given priority in the political agenda of the country so they get their rightful share.
Children cannot vote, and thus the need to listen to them and address their issues. The onus is on political parties and candidates to factor in their demands,” says Jayakumar Christian, CEO, World Vision India.
These children are approaching various political parties and their candidates across the country to take up their cause and listen to them. Some key demands in the manifesto include health services in all villages, stopping of child marriage, enrolment of child labourers in schools and life imprisonment to people who abuse children.

(Source: IANS)