The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Election Commission (EC) to increase tallying of VVPAT slips with EVM count from one to five polling stations per seat. More importantly, this change has to be rolled out during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. A senior EC official told The Indian Express, “ECI shall make all-out efforts to operationalise and implement the directions of Hon’ble SC with immediate effect.”
So what does this mean as far as result declaration is concerned?
As per EC’s submission in the Supreme Court recently, it takes about an hour for election officers to match VVPAT slips with EVM count in one polling station, which is the current practice. VVPAT slip counting can only begin after EVM votes for the concerned polling station have been tabulated. So, for five polling stations, it would mean a delay of five hours in all, say EC sources. The good news is that results will be declared in one day.
In the earlier hearings, the Election Commission had told the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that it was in the favour of continuing the existing system of random checking of VVPAT slips from one EVM per assembly segment for the Lok Sabha and assembly polls. It maintained that the results would be delayed by six days if the Opposition parties’ demand is met.
Who were the petitioners?
The petitioners included Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP, Sharad Chandra Pawar of the NCP, Congress leader K C Venugopal, TMC leader Derek O’Brien, Sharad Yadav of the Loktantrik Janata Dal, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, Satish Chandra Mishra of the BSP, DMK leader M K Stalin, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and National Congress leader Farooq Abdullah.
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