EC may use paper trail in EVMs

The Election Commission on Friday told the Supreme Court that it could introduce Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in electronic voting machines (EVMs) in certain areas in the 2014 general elections.

It submitted before a bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the new system could be implemented in a phased manner only.  During the hearing, senior counsel Ashok Desai and Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the EC, submitted that the commission had already written to the government for 20,000 special EVMs, which would cost around Rs 28 crore.

They said approximately Rs 1,500 crore would be required for procuring VVPAT and installing it at all polling booths across the country for the Lok Sabha polls. There are only two state-owned companies – Bharat Electronic Ltd and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd – which manufacture the machines. The bench was keen to know if the new system could be introduced in the ensuing Assembly and general elections. The court also noted that the EC had successfully implemented VVPAT in Nagaland.

The counsel, however, submitted that it could be done in a phased manner only as the EC would require over one million new EVMs with paper trail.

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