A vacation bench of the Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) asking for 100% verification of VVPAT (voter verified paper audit trail) with EVMs (electronic voter machines). The bench, comprising of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah, dismissed the plea filed by a group Tech4All who call themselves “technocrats”, for 100% verification and EVMs to be replaced with an ‘Optical Ballot Scan machine’ from the next election onwards.
According to Bar and Bench, the court called the petition a “nuisance” and said that it didn’t find any merit in the petition.
"The CJI had dealt with this matter. Why are you taking chance before a two-judge vacation bench," the bench asked the petitioners, according to Livelaw.
“We won't entertain such kind of plea over and over again. We can't come in the way of people electing their representatives,” Justice Arun Mishra reportedly said.
"We cannot override the CJI's order... This is nonsense. The petition is taken on board. Dismissed," Justice Mishra said, as per the Livelaw report.
This isn’t the first petition in front of the Supreme Court seeking verification of VVPAT with EVMs. On April 1, a total of 21 Opposition parties filed a plea in the Supreme Court, seeking 50% verification of VVPAT with EVMs. On April 8, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to increase the verification of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one to five polling booths in each Assembly segment of the Parliamentary constituency.
The 21 parties then filed a review petition, which the court dismissed this month. The Opposition leaders led by Naidu told the court that "increase from one to five is not a reasonable number and does not lead to satisfaction desired by this court", and that it should review the order.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the petition, saying, “We are not inclined to review our order.”
The court's earlier order was seen as a major setback for the Opposition parties as it has merely increased the quantum of EVM verification using paper trail by 1.99%, i.e. out of total 10.35 lakh EVMs, only 20,625 will be used in counting to verify results.
The Supreme Court had increased VVPAT from one EVM per Assembly segment to five randomly selected EVMs.
As per the apex court's direction, the VVPAT slips of five EVMs in every place will be subjected to physical counting. It noted that increasing the VVPAT would neither require additional manpower nor delay the results of the Lok Sabha elections.
With IANS inputs