Calling for a certainty beyond electronic assurance to a voter,the Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Election Commission to introduce voting machines with paper trails in the upcoming 2014 general election in the country in a phased manner.
We are satisfied that the paper trail is an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections. The confidence of the voters in the EVMs can be achieved only with the introduction of the paper trail, held a Bench of Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The court,which directed the Centre to provide financial assistance to the EC for introducing Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system with the EVMs,said it will ensure the accuracy of the voting system and help in manual counting of votes in case of a dispute.
VVPAT is a system of printing paper trail when the voter casts his vote,in addition to the electronic record of the ballot,for the purpose of verification of his choice of candidate. EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system. With an intent to have fullest transparency in the system and to restore the confidence of the voters,it is necessary to set up EVMs with VVPAT system because vote is nothing but an act of expression which has immense importance in democratic system, held the Bench.
The Bench asked the Election Commission to introduce VVPAT in EVMs in gradual stages or geographical-wise in the 2014 general election.
The Bench noted the submissions made by the EC in its affidavit that it has decided to increase the use of VVPAT units in a phased manner and has written to the Ministry of Law and Justice to issue administrative and financial sanction for procurement of 20,000 units of VVPAT (10,000 each from BEL and ECIL) costing Rs 38.01 crore.
The court order came on petitions by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and one Rajendra Satyanarayan Gilda for direction to the government for introducing paper trails with the EVMs.