The Gujarat High Court issued a notice to the Election Commission today on a petition moved by Congress’s state unit seeking that EVMs and VVPATs that were found defective be sealed and not used in the coming Assembly polls. A division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice A J Kogji issued notices to the EC, the state chief electoral officer, and the central government through its Ministry of Law and Justice on the petition moved by the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee. The bench asked them to respond by November 13. In its petition, the Congress said that around 7 per cent of total 70,182 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units that were found to be defective during the first level checks, along with defective EVMs and control units, should be sealed and not used at any polling booth in the state.
The petitioner also prayed for the court to either direct the EC or itself set up an expert committee to look into the defective machines to avoid any foul play. It also sought the court’s direction to the EC to use ballot papers as a way to avoid tampering with the machines. Elections in the state will be held in two phases on December 9 and December 14, and the counting will be held on December 18. For the first time, the EC has decided to use VVPATs across all booths in 182 Assembly seats in the state.