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Supreme Court order takes note of EC submissions on VVPAT slips

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also noted in its order that the EC has "not responded very favourably" to the prayers made in the petition

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 8, 2019  | 21:25 IST
Supreme Court order takes note of EC submissions on VVPAT slips

The Supreme Court Monday took note of the EC's submission that sample verification of VVPAT paper trail of one EVM is done by a team of three officers under the direct supervision of returning officer and the election observer of the constituency.

"The process takes about an hour. If what the petitioner asks for i.e. verification of VVPAT paper trail of 50 per cent of the EVMs, the declaration of result of election could be delayed by 5-6 days," the Election Commission (EC) told the top court.

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A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also noted in its order that the EC has "not responded very favourably" to the prayers made in the petition filed by 21 opposition leaders through senior advocate A M Singhvi who contended that the thrust of their plea is to maintain purity of electoral process and to ensure foolproof result of mandate expressed by the voters in the upcoming polls.

The Supreme Court Monday directed the EC to increase the random matching of paper trail machine slips with EVM results from one to five polling booths in each assembly segment for the multi-phased Lok Sabha polls starting Thursday, holding this will bring more "credibility" and "integrity" to the electoral process.

It took on record the submissions of EC by saying that the poll panel, very broadly, contends that a query had been posted to the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) as to "what would be the reasonable sample size of polling stations where VVPAT slips verification is required to be carried out to achieve the object of establishing the credibility and integrity of the electoral process".

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It noted, "According to the ECI, the said query was posed to an Expert Body, namely, ISI. In response, the ISI had submitted an elaborate report, the crux of which is that verification of VVPAT paper trail of 479 (randomly selected) Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) would generate over 99 per cent accuracy in the election results."

The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, noted that as per the guideline number 16.6, verification of VVPAT paper trails of one Assembly Constituency or Assembly Segment in a Parliamentary Constituency, would involve verification of VVPAT paper trail of 4,125 EVMs instead of 479 EVMs which is eight times more than what has been reported by the ISI.

"In a situation where the ECI, a constitutional body, is satisfied on the integrity of the EVMs and which is further fortified by the sample verification of VVPAT paper trail of one EVM per Assembly Constituency or Assembly Segment in a Parliamentary Constituency, the exercise sought for by the petitioner would be a futile exercise, which the Court should not order, it is contended," the bench noted in its order.

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