21 Oppn parties seek review of SC order on VVPAT match

The Supreme Court had on April 8 ordered the counting of VVPAT slips of five EVMs in every constituency instead of one at present to improve voter confidence in the election process. (DH File Photo)

Twenty-one Opposition parties filed a review petition in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to increase VVPAT verification from five to at least 50% of EVMs during counting of votes in the general elections 2019.

They have sought reconsideration of the apex court's April 8 order. The top court had then directed the Election Commission to increase VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) verification from the system of one EVM (electronic voting machine) to five EVMs randomly selected in each Assembly constituency or Assembly segment in a parliamentary seat.

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

The parties also referred to alleged tampering and malfunctioning of electronic voting machines. "The Election Commission was not paying heed to our demand of transparency," they said.

The apex court bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on April 8 said that if the number of EVMs in respect to physical verification was increased from one to five, it would not require additional manpower or delay the poll results.

VVPATs in EVMs are presently used in all polling stations. But the results of EVMs and VVPATs were earlier matched in one EVM per Assembly segment or constituency.

The Election Commission had opposed the plea by 21 Opposition parties to raise VVPAT verification 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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