The Supreme Court on Monday allowed leaders of opposition parties, who had approached it seeking an increase in the random verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) using their Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), to reply to the Election Commission affidavit that hiking it to 50 per cent “might not be feasible” in the forthcoming elections.
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“List the matter on 8.4.2019 to enable learned counsel for the petitioners to file rejoinder affidavit,” ordered a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Singh.
The petition filed by by leaders from 21 political parties has sought directions to the EC to randomly verify at least 50 per cent EVMs using VVPAT slips in the assembly and general elections starting next month.
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Hearing it on March 25, the bench told the EC that it “would like” the poll panel “to increase” the number of random checks of VVPAT slips from one per assembly segment for the Lok Sabha polls, and asked the EC to inform it whether it would face any insurmountable difficulty if such an order was issued.
In its response, the Election Commission rooted for continuing with the existing system of random check of VVPAT slips from one per assembly segment for the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls and said that increasing it to 50 per cent “shall enlarge the time required for counting to about six days”.