SC rejects plea for 100% matching of VVPAT slips
The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking 100 per cent matching of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the counting of votes on May 23 for Lok Sabha polls.
During a brief hearing, a vacation bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra refused to entertain the plea filed by a Chennai-based organisation ‘Tech for All’, saying that a larger bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had already passed an order.
“The CJI had dealt with this matter. Why are you taking chance before a two-judge vacation bench,” the apex court asked adding, “We cannot override the CJI’s order. This is nonsense.” Justice Mishra termed the plea as “nuisance”.
Earlier this month, the court had on May 7 dismissed a review plea filed by 21 Opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, seeking that random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs be increased to 50 per cent.
The court had on April 8 directed the poll panel to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one to five booths per Assembly segment in polls, saying it would provide satisfaction not only to political parties but also the electorate.
United Opposition meets EC ahead of the big results
Opposition parties put up a united face ahead of the results of the Lok Sabha polls. They submitted a memorandum before the EC, requesting that 100% VVPAT slips be counted in case there is a mismatch between EVM and VVPAT tally.
In the memorandum, the group of 22 Opposition parties also raised the demand that the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified (05) polling stations should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of last round of counting.
“We told the EC that the VVPAT machines should be counted first and if there is any discrepancy, then all of them in that segment should be counted,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said despite requests to the EC, the poll body has now said it will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
“We are asking the Election Commission to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated,” TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said adding that even the former Chief Election Commissioner has endorsed their demands.
“We raised the issues over last one and a half month... The EC heard us for almost an hour and assured that they will meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) morning,” Singhvi said.