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Judiciary

'We all know what happened when there were ballot papers,' SC on return of ballot papers or 100% VVPATs count

By Jhanak Singh      18 April, 2024 01:53 PM      0 Comments
We all know what happened when there were ballot papers SC on return of ballot papers or 100 VVPATs count

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought to know from the Election Commission entire process of voting and counting through EVMs, while voicing doubt over return to ballot papers or 100 % cross verification of EVM votes with VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails) slips.

Also Read -  Supreme Court notice on plea to tally every EVM vote with VVPAT slips

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta said, "We are in our 60s what we have seen (in the past), we have not forgotten. We all know what happened when there were ballot papers, you may have, but we have not forgotten".

Arguing for NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, advocate Prashant  Bhushan said most of the European countries which opted for voting through EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) have returned to the paper ballots.

He gave an example of Germany.

"What is the population of Germany? Our country can't be compared with any European country. The population of even my state, West Bengal, is greater than any of the European countries. We need to repose some trust and faith on somebody. Do not try to bring down the system like this," Justice Datta observed.

Bhushan sought a direction to allow the voter to physically take the VVPAT slip, deposit it in the ballot box.

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

"If there is a mismatch between VVPAT and EVM, they only let VVPAT count prevail in that polling station," Bhushan said.

The bench, however, said human intervention in the polling and counting process could lead to further problems and biases.

Senior advocates Huzefa Ahmadi, Anand Grover, Santosh Paul and Sanjay Hegde, for some petitioners, said that it was very much important to ensure free and fair elections and a few days delay involved in VVPAT verification is a smaller price to pay.

Paul said that there should be atleast 50% VVPAT verification.

During the course of the hearing, the apex court also asked some questions to the ECI ad to whether CCTV cameras are installed at all polling booths.

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on April 18.

Also Read - Supreme Court Seeks Election Commission's Response on Cross Verification of EVMs with VVPATs Plea



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