SC turns down Opposition plea for increased VVPAT verification
CJI declines to review April 8 order on VVPAT counting per Assembly segment
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by 21 Opposition parties, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, to review its judgment rejecting 50% random physical verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) using Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).
On April 8, a Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to increase physical counting of VVPAT slips to five random EVMs in each Assembly segment/constituency. Before this April verdict, ECI Guideline 16.6 required physical counting of only one EVM in every Assembly segment/constituency.
In its April verdict, the court had assured the petitioners that it would ensure a ‘fool-proof’ Lok Sabha poll.
“How much counting do you want now?” Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the Opposition in the review.
“We asked for 50%, but we 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 said 50% was not ‘viable’ at this point of time during the Lok Sabha elections,” Mr. Singhvi submitted.
Hearing this, Chief Justice Gogoi straightaway responded, “We decline to review our order”. The court dismissed the review plea.