Supreme Court Issues Notice to Election Commission on Paper Trail Verification

Supreme Court

Guwahati: The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Election Commission of India on Friday on a petition filed by leaders of 21 political parties seeking paper audit of votes cast through electronic voting machines. The petitioner sought use of Voter Verifiable Paper Trail (VVPAT) in at least 50% of votes cast through EVMs.

The court will hear the matter next on March 25 and directed the competent authority to ensure the presence of an officer to assist it on the date given. The petitioners have also been given the liberty to serve the poll body through its secretary.

The 21 political parties approached the top court seeking direction to the Election Commission for mandatory verification of 50% votes by paper trail before announcing results in the Lok Sabha polls.

The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu is the main petitioner in the case.

However, the leaders of 21 political parties had met the Election Commission last month over the issue of alleged tampering of the EVMs.

The opposition party demanded that the counting of votes should be done through both EVMs and VVPATs. They said that 50% of the votes should be done through EVMs and the rest 50% should be done through VVPATs and that the results of the two should be cross-checked before the declaration of a candidate winner from a Lok Sabha seat.

The Election Commission, however, said that the mandatory checking of the EVMs and VVPATs will be done for one polling station in each Lok Sabha constituency while announcing the poll schedule on March 10.

The EC said that the selection of the VVPAT checking with the EVM records will be done based on randomly selected polling booth. The VVPAT will be used in all the polling stations along with the EVMs in the Lok Sabha polls.

As many as 17.4 lakh VVPAT machines will be used by the poll body in the conduct of the Lok Sabha elections and simultaneous assembly elections.

On March 10. the EC declared that the Lok Sabha polls will be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19 and the counting of votes will be conducted on May 23.