Top

SC issues notice to EC for 50% EVM-VVPAT random verification

The petition has been filed in the names of Andhra chief minister and Telegu Desam Party leader N. Chandrababu Naidu, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, Indian National Congress K.C. Venugopal, All India Trinamool Congress Derek O'Brien, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, DMK leader Stalin, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, National Congress leader Farooq Abdullah, Loktantrik Janta Dal leader Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janta Dal leader Manoj Jha, among others.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 15 March 2019 7:06 AM GMT

SC issues notice to EC for 50% EVM-VVPAT random verification
X
SC issues notice to EC for 50% EVM-VVPAT random verification
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print

New Delhi: Responding to a joint petition filed by 23 Opposition, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission of India to carryout a random verification of at least 50 per cent EVMs using VVPAT in every Assembly segment or constituency.

Commission saying it should depute a suitable officer to assist the court on the next day of hearing on March 25.

In a show of pre-poll strength, the Opposition parties have further sought to quash an Election Commission of India guideline restricting Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) should be conducted “only for VVPAT paper slips of one randomly selected polling station of an Assembly constituency in case of election to State Legislative Assembly and each Assembly segment in case of election to the House of the People.”

The petition, led by presidents and leaders of 23 different national and regional political parties — six out of the seven national parties and 17 regional parties — said they electorally represent about 70-75% of the people of India.

The petition was mentioned on March 14 for an early hearing. The CJI posted it for the very next day.

The petition has been filed in the names of Andhra chief minister and Telegu Desam Party leader N. Chandrababu Naidu, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, Indian National Congress K.C. Venugopal, All India Trinamool Congress Derek O'Brien, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, DMK leader Stalin, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, National Congress leader Farooq Abdullah, Loktantrik Janta Dal leader Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janta Dal leader Manoj Jha, among others.

The petition said free and fair elections was part of the basic structure of the Constitution. It quoted the apex court's judgment in the Dr Subramanian Swamy case in 2013, which held that the paper trail for EVM has been held to be an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections, thereby making VVPAT inherent in and intrinsic to the very basic structure.

The petition contended that the ECI guideline hits at the basic structure of the Constitution by making VVPAT “completely ineffective and merely ornamental in nature.”

“It takes away from the left hand what was given by the right,” the petition said.

Recently, the former Chief Election Commissioner, Navin Chawla talked in the favour of EVMs to be used in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. He claimed that the equipment cannot be manipulated as they are not accessible through external machines and are kept under the surveillance of senior government officials, “I firmly believe that EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) are very good machines and cannot be manipulated. The moment we let our NRIs to vote, it has to be a computerised machine with out firewalls and then EVMs can be breached.”

He also talked about the secrecy and protection provided to votes in world's largest democracy, “We have a Chief Electoral Officer in every state, who ensures that every single EVM machine is kept in the custody of the District Magistrates, all of whom are IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officers. The machines go to the polling stations directly from there.”

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

Next Story