SC dismisses plea on tallying of VVPAT slips with vote cast using EVMs

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea raising the issue of tallying of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with the votes cast using the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

A bench of justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta told the petitioner’s counsel that a coordinate bench of the apex court had last week delivered its verdict on the issue.

“A coordinate bench has already taken a view,” the bench said, while refusing to entertain the plea.

When the petitioner’s counsel said the issue was of transparency and the apex court had already suggested some safeguards, the bench observed, “Another bench has already passed an order two days back.”

On April 26, an apex court bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta had rejected the pleas seeking complete cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with VVPAT, an independent vote verification system which enables electors to see whether their votes have been recorded correctly.

Terming the suspicion of manipulation of the EVMs “unfounded”, the bench had rejected the demand for reverting to the old paper ballot system, saying the polling devices were “secure” and eliminate booth capturing and bogus voting.

However, the top court had opened a window for the aggrieved unsuccessful candidates securing the second and third places in the poll results and allowed them to seek verification of micro-controller chips embedded in five per cent EVMs per assembly constituency on a written request upon payment of a fee to the poll panel.

It had directed that from May 1, the symbol loading units should be sealed and secured in a container and stored in a strongroom along with the EVMs for a minimum period of 45 days post-declaration of results.