SC rejects Opposition Parties’ Plea to Increase VVPAT Verification

In what could be a body blow to electoral reforms in the country, the Supreme Court today dismissed a plea by 21 opposition parties to increase the random matching of VVPAT slips with EVM machines in polling booths in each assembly segment in each constituency.

Opposition Parties

The parties had initially demanded that the paper trail match count should take place in at least 50 per cent of the polling booths in each assembly segment instead of the previous provision for just one booth. But at a hearing held on April 8, just before the commencement of the first phase of a seven phases election, the ECI had held that doing so would delay polling by five days. They has also submitted findings of a report by the Indian Statistical Institute that said sample verification of EVMs and VVPATs out of a total of over 10 lakh machines showed accuracy of 99.99 per cent. But the SC directed them to increase the number of polling booths for the random match counting to five per assembly constituency.
Following this, parties who had made the plea scaled down their demand to just 25 per cent of the constituencies and filed a plea to review the previous order. However, the SC today rejected this appeal. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reportedly said, “We are not inclined to modify our order.”

The plea came in light of multiple instances of mismatches between the vote cast and the VVPAT reading being reported from across the country. The key pleaders included Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, AAP MP Sanjay Singh and veteran CPI leader D Raja.




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