SC to hear next week plea for review of VVPAT order

The court allowed the plea made during mentioning and put the matter for consideration next week.

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider next week a plea by 21 opposition parties for a direction to increase VVPAT verification from five to at least 50 % of the EVMs during the counting of votes in the general elections 2019.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi submitted before a bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the review petitions along with an application for open court hearing have been filed which may be urgently considered.

"I am beseeching for listing next week," he said.

The court allowed his plea made during mentioning and put the matter for consideration next week.

The opposition party leaders have sought reconsideration of the apex court's order of April 8. The top court had then directed the Election Commission to increase VVPAT verification from system of one EVM to five EVMs randomly selected in each Assembly Constituency or Assembly segment in a Parliamentary seat.

In view of reports of “large-scale mismatching of votes with the VVPAT” during the three phases of polls already held, the parties led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu have once again approached the apex court to seek a direction for increasing of matching the paper trail.

The parties also pointed out to alleged tampering and malfunctioning of electronic voting machines. They claimed, “The Election Commission was not paying heed to our demand of transparency,” they said.

The apex court bench had on April 8 said if the number of EVMs in respect to physical verification was increased from one to five, it would neither required additional manpower nor would it delay the poll results.

Voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) in EVMs are presently used in all polling stations. But results of EVMs and VVPATs were earlier matched in one EVM per Assembly segment or constituency.

The EC had opposed the plea by 21 opposition parties for raising VVPATverification from one EVM in one Assembly segment to 50 % of polling booths, saying it would take six days to complete the counting of votes.

The court had then closed the petition filed by several opposition leaders, including Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Sharad Pawar, K C Venugopal, Derek O Brien, Sharad Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Satish Chandra Mishra, M K Stalin, T K Rangrajan, Manoj K Jha, Farooq Abdullah, S S Reddy, Danish Ali, Ajit Singh, Mohd Badruddin Ajmal, Jitin Ram Majhi, and others.

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