NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the review petition filed by 21 Opposition parties seeking to cross-check of 50 per cent of EVMs with voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT). The SC said it found no reason to modify its April 8 order, which directed the Election Commission to raise the random matching from one polling booth per Assembly segment to five.
“We are not inclined to modify our order,” the bench told senior advocates A M Singhvi and Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioners led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. During the brief hearing on Tuesday, Singhvi pleaded that random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs be increased to at least 25 per cent against the present 2 per cent, which he said was unreasonable.
“The Supreme Court had increased it from one to five (polling booths per Assembly segment). We have asked for 50 per cent but we will be happy with 33 or even 25 per cent. It is for increasing satisfaction and confidence-building measure,” Singhvi said, adding the number of a random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs should be “viable”.
While passing the April 8 order, the SC had noted that increasing the random checking would provide greater satisfaction not just to political parties but the entire electorate. When the top court refused to modify its earlier order, Singhvi said, “Suppose they (EC) find any fault in five, then? There are no guidelines for this.” Sibal, too, submitted that the poll panel had earlier “misled the court” on this aspect.
But the SC was in no mood to entertain the plea. “This is a review petition. We are not obliged to hear you in an open court,” said the CJI.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and CPI MP D Raja were present in the court to watch the proceedings but they returned dejected as the petition was dismissed in less than two minutes.
Opposition parties meet EC
Soon after the SC dismissed their plea, a delegation of Opposition parties met the Election Commission to demand verification of all VVPATs in an Assembly segment if any discrepancy is found during random checks.