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Judiciary

Election Commission Opposes 100% VVPAT Verification, Citing Concerns About Reverting to Paper Ballots [Read Order]

By Lawstreet News Network      Sep 08, 2023      1 Comments
Election Commission Opposes 100% VVPAT Verification, Citing Concerns About Reverting to Paper Ballots [Read Order]

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has opposed before the Supreme Court a plea for 100% verification of VVPAT slips in EVMs, contending it is a regressive idea which would result in reverting back to old paper ballot system.

The poll panel also contended that there is no 'fundamental right' of the voters to verify through VVPATS that their vote has been 'recorded as cast' and 'counted as recorded'.

In an affidavit, it said that the counting of 100% VVPAT slips will be against the spirit of use of EVM.

The EC said that theoretically there may be discrepancy between the EVM count and the VVPAT slips count, but practically there may be no possibility of any discrepancy between the EVM count and the VVPAT slips count, except human error in counting the VVPAT slips.

The EC clarified its stand on the subject in the affidavit filed in the top court in response to a plea made by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The NGO, through advocate Prashant Bhushan, sought a direction for cross verifying the counts in EVMs with VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) in all polling booths, which is at present limited to five polling stations per assembly constituency.

"The provisions of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 do not violate any fundamental right and in fact the concerned provisions have undergone judicial scrutiny at many occasions and their constitutionality has been upheld time and again," it said.

Terming the plea by ADR for raising the number of VVPAT verification as "misconceived and devoid of merits", the EC said the present petition is a yet another attempt to cast doubt over the functioning of EVMs/VVPATS with "vague and baseless grounds".

"The EC anticipates that the present petition casting aspersion over the EVM/VVPAT system will not be the last of such petitions before the Lok Sabha Elections, 2024," the EC said.

In its voluminous 469-page affidavit, the EC, through its counsel Amit Sharma, said VVPAT is essentially an 'audit trail' for the voter to instantaneously verify his or her vote cast in the ballot unit.

“However, based on the directions of the Apex Court, VVPATS slips are being cross verified on a statistically robust sampling basis. Therefore, to press forward a ground for 100% verification of VVPAT slips is a regressive thought and tantamount only to going back indirectly to the days of manual voting using ballot system,” it said.

It said the ECI-EVM has an inbuilt system of recording each vote (candidate button number pressed by the voter on Ballot Unit) with date and time stamp, which can be retrieved by using decoder or printer (customised) based on orders of the courts.

It said till date ballot slips of 34,680 randomly selected VVPATs have been tallied with the electronic counts of their CUs, and not a single case of transfer of vote meant for candidate ‘A’ to candidate ‘B’ has been detected.

The ECI said it has put in place stringent technical and administrative safeguards for the EVMS so that the machines could not be tampered or manipulated to any extent whatsoever.

“Further, all the election activities related to the EVMS are carried out in the presence of the political parties/candidates in the most transparent manner…..EVMs are totally stand-alone machines having One Time Programmable (OTP) chips. It cannot be hacked or tampered," the affidavit said.

It also stated since the introduction of VVPATS, more than 118 Crore voters have cast their votes with full satisfaction and only 25 complaints have been received under Rule 49MA, which were all found to be false.

The ECI said in case of 100% counting of WPAT slips, it may take more time than the time specified for ballot counting. Moreover, in case of recounting due to recounting demand or any human error the time may be endless, it said.

On Wednesday, a bench led by justice Sanjiv Khanna declined to give an urgent hearing on the petition and scheduled the matter for hearing in November.

[Read Order]



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John Doe
Nazmur Rasul Dec 07, 2023

Yes, of course , EC will oppose 100 % VVPT cross check. Because they know it is not fool proof and they are tampering it and being a corrupted organization , supporting the corrupted government and cheating the public. How, poll panel can say, public has no " fundamental right" to cross check against the VVPT? they should understand , it is not just fundamental right but also democratic right. Poll panel is BJP government ?? Poll panel is worried that it might revert to old Ballot paper system. That means , Poll panel and EC agrees that EVM is not fool proof. The poll Panel , EC along with government, is depriving the public from their fundamental and democratic right. After casting vote , how a person knows that his vote goes to his selected candidate? EC is giving their stupid justification talking about Theoretical and practical things. system must be just 100% fool proof. EC must be ashamed of what they are doing. it is puppet organization under the ruling government.

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