EVM-VVPAT verification: SC reserves verdict after noting EC's answers to queries

The SC bench sought answers from an official of the poll panel to five questions related to the functioning of EVMs, including whether the microcontrollers fitted in them are reprogrammable.
A polling official checks Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) kept inside a strong room ahead of the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha elections, in Agartala.
A polling official checks Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) kept inside a strong room ahead of the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha elections, in Agartala.PTI

NEW DELHI: India's top court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking complete cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) after taking note of answers to queries it had raised before the Election Commission.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta sought answers from an official of the poll panel to five questions related to the functioning of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), including whether the microcontrollers fitted in them are reprogrammable.

Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Nitesh Kumar Vyas, who had earlier made a presentation to the court on the functioning of EVMs, was summoned by the bench at 2 PM to answer the queries.

The bench had said it needs clarification on certain aspects as there was some confusion over the answers given by the EC to 'frequently asked questions' (FAQs) about EVMs.

"We have some doubts and need clarification and that's why we have listed the matter for directions," the bench said, adding "we don't want to be factually wrong but doubly sure in our findings"

The court had sought clarification relating to the storage of EVMs, the microchip in the controlling unit of EVMs and other aspects.

The VVPAT is an independent vote verification system that enables electors to see whether their votes have been cast correctly.

On April 18, the top court reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking complete cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with VVPAT, observing that "over suspicion" of everything is a problem.

Underscoring the importance of voter satisfaction and trust in the electoral system, the bench had told petitioners who sought its direction to go back to using ballot papers not to suspect the efficacy of EVMs and appreciate if the Election Commission does good work.

The bench made the remarks when advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO 'Association for Democratic Reforms' (ADR), sought reversal of the poll panel's 2017 decision to replace the transparent glass on VVPAT machines with an opaque glass through which a voter can see the slip only when the light is on for seven seconds."

A polling official checks Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) kept inside a strong room ahead of the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha elections, in Agartala.
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A polling official checks Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) kept inside a strong room ahead of the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha elections, in Agartala.
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