Setback for Opposition: Supreme Court rejects review plea by 21 parties on increasing VVPAT verification from 5% to 50%

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Updated: May 7, 2019 12:38:22 PM

On April 8, the Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission to increase the VVPAT slips with EVMs from one to five polling booths in each assembly segment of the Parliamentary constituency.

Supreme Court rejects Opposition parties’ review plea on VVPAT

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a review plea filed by 21 opposition parties seeking a direction to increase VVPAT verification from five to at least 50% of EVMs during the counting of votes on May 23 when the Lok Sabha election results will be declared. “We are not inclined to modify our order,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said while dismissing opposition’s review plea on random matching of VVPAT slips.

Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was appearing for petitioners, told the CJI-headed bench that the court had increased the random verification of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per assembly segment and opposition is now seeking that it should be increased to 25% at least. The review plea was moved by leaders of 21 opposition political parties led by TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.

“It will be for the satisfaction of confidence building measures,” he told the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.

On April 8, the top court had directed the Election Commission to increase the VVPAT slips with EVMs from one to five polling booths in each assembly segment of the Parliamentary constituency. The opposition had then moved a review plea demanding that the VVPAT verification should be increased to 50% to satisfy the parties that votes polled are genuine. In its previous order, the court had said that it was increasing VVPAT verification from one EVM per Assembly segment to five randomly selected Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy and satisfaction in the election process.

According to the Supreme Court’s direction, the VVPAT slips of 5 EVMs in every place will be subjected to physical counting by the Election Commission. The court had ruled that increasing the VVPAT will neither require additional manpower nor delay the results.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu has written to the Election Commission of India demanding to verify 50% of the EVMs using the VVPAT slips.

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