Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Supreme Court rejects petitions requesting 100% cross-verification in the EVM-VVPAT case

Supreme Court rejects petitions requesting 100% cross-verificationSupreme Court rejects petitions requesting 100% cross-verification

The Supreme Court denied requests for the physical deposit of VVPAT slips, full EVM-VVPAT verification, and paper ballot voting.

On Friday, the Supreme Court denied petitions requesting full cross-verification between the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for votes cast. In the case, a bench consisting of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta rendered two decisions that agreed.

Declaring the verdict, Justice Khanna stated that all petitions, including those for a return to paper ballots for elections, had been denied by the court.

At the request of the second and third-place candidates, the court permitted the manufacturer to verify the microcontroller of EVMs following the poll results. The Supreme Court further stated that a request for verification of the microcontroller of EVMs can be submitted within seven days after the declaration of election results with the payment of expenses.

The Supreme Court also issued two directives: first, the symbol loading unit’s containers must be sealed in the presence of poll workers and candidates and must remain locked for 45 days; second, the control unit, ballot unit, and VVPAT must be verified by the manufacturing companies’ engineers following the results of the counting and must be requested in writing within seven days of the results being announced.

On Wednesday, the highest court stated that it cannot “oversee the elections” or provide instructions solely based on doubts raised about the effectiveness of EVMs. The court reserved its judgment on a set of petitions alleging that the polling devices can be tampered with to influence the results.

The court ruled that it was powerless to influence the opinions of individuals who questioned the benefits of voting machines and supported returning to paper ballots.

The bench also noted the responses to the questions it sent to the Election Commission.

It asked five questions about how EVMs work, including if the microcontrollers that are installed in them can be reprogrammed, to a poll panel official.

On April 18, following a two-day hearing, the bench had reserved its decision regarding the pleas. But because the court required more answers from the EC, the case was rescheduled for this Wednesday.

One of the petitions, filed by the non-governmental organization “Association for Democratic Reforms,” seeks the reversal of the Election Commission’s 2017 decision to replace the clear glass on VVPAT machines with an opaque one. This opaque glass only allows voters to view the slip when the light is on for seven seconds.

The petitioners have also requested the court to instruct a return to the previous system of using ballot papers.

Also Read: Lok Sabha elections

Beginning on April 19, the seven phases of the Lok Sabha elections will end on June 4 with the results being announced.

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