Posted on May 7, 2019, 7:24 PM IST
Opposition plea to review VVPAT machines dismissed by Supreme Court
A plea filed by 21 opposition parties to review the SC judgemet that rejected 50% random physical verification of Electronic Voting Machines, was dismissed by the honourable Supreme Court on Friday. The petition was led by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu.
On questions raised by Chief Justice of India, asking as to what amount of counting the petition wishes, opposition lawyer A.M. Sanghvi responded by saying that despite having asked for 50%, they can settle for 33% or 25% verification.
" My Lords had agreed with our plea in principle, but increased the counting from one VVPAT to only five. My Lords had 50% was not 'viable' at this point of time during the Lok Sabha elections," Mr. Singhvi stated In response, however, CJI Ranjan Gogoi straightaway declined to review the order and dismissed the plea.
Mr. Naidu, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, CPI parliamentarian D. Raja and AAP MP Sanjay Singh, were present in the court room.
The April 8 Supreme Court directive asked the Election Commission to increase physical counting of VVPAT slips to five random Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in each Assembly segment/constituency. The review petition by the opposition was filed soon after.
The VVPAT slip from only one EVM in every constituency were subjected to physical verification according to previous EC guidelines. Scrutiny of votes polled through five EVMs was quite enough to ensure that an election was "fool-proof", the court had said in its April verdict.Instances of large scale tampering and EVM malfunctioning were referred to in the opposition plea. They also contended that the Indian democracy could not be left to the mercy of EVM programmers.The earlier judgment had refused delve into the issue of integrity of the EVMs.
However, the Supreme Court stated that the VVPAT verification of five EVMs, rather than in 125 polling booths, was far more "viable at this point of time" in the Lok Sabha poll season. The drain brought on ECI because of verification of five EVMs was also an issue for the SC.
That a six day delay would be brought along in the Lok Sabha poll results because of 50% random verification was also pointed out by the SC. Quoting from the Indian Statistical Institute’s March 22 report, the ECI stated that a sample verification of 479 EVMs and VVPATs out of a total 10.35 lakh machine would lift public confidence to 99.9936%.