News Karnataka
Sunday, July 14 2024
Delhi

Supreme Court Queries Election Commission on VVPAT Operations

Supreme Court
Photo Credit : News Karnataka

New Delhi: Today, the Supreme Court is set to deliver its verdict on a series of petitions requesting instructions to match Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) records with votes cast via Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during elections.

A panel comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta has summoned an Election Commission of India (ECI) representative to appear in court at 2 pm for clarification on certain matters.

The court expressed the need for factual clarity, particularly regarding the installation of the microcontroller in either the controlling unit or the VVPAT. It urged the presence of the officer at 2 pm for elucidation.

The bench will reconvene at the specified time. In the previous hearing, the bench extensively engaged with a poll panel official to comprehend EVM functionality.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the poll panel, informed the court that EVMs are autonomous devices, immune to tampering, although human error cannot be entirely discounted.

Emphasizing the sanctity of the electoral process, Justice Datta urged Singh to address apprehensions both within and outside the court, ensuring transparency and confidence in the process.

In response to the Election Commission’s arguments, the Supreme Court cautioned the petitioners against excessive suspicion, advocating appreciation for commendable initiatives rather than blanket criticism.

During an earlier hearing on April 16, the bench expressed reservations about manual counting processes, highlighting the complexity of India’s electoral system and the need to preserve its integrity.

The VVPAT system allows voters to verify if their votes were correctly registered and attributed to their chosen candidate. Each VVPAT generates a paper slip stored in a sealed envelope, accessible in case of disputes.

Currently, VVPAT slips from five randomly selected EVMs per Assembly segment undergo verification.

Amidst concerns and queries from the opposition regarding the integrity of the EVM system, the petitions call for comprehensive cross-verification of all votes.

These petitions have been lodged by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and activist Arun Kumar Agarwal. Agarwal seeks the counting of all VVPAT slips, while the ADR petition demands court intervention to ensure voters can verify via VVPATs that their votes were accurately recorded.

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