One India
Gaurav Sharma

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard petitions requesting cross-verification of votes cast through EVM and VVPAT machines. The petitions were filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and activist Arun Kumar Agarwal. The pleas requested the court to count of all VVPAT slips, while ADR requested the court to ensure that voters should be able to verify that their vote has been "counted as recorded"

It was learned that counting of votes all VVPAT slips would be like counting all votes again, just like a paper ballot system.

Keeping his side, the petitioner's lawyer Prashant Bhushan, said, "We can go back to paper ballots. Another option is to give the VVPAT slip to the voters in hand. Otherwise, the slips fall into the machine and the slip can be then given to the voter and it can be put into the ballot box. Then the VVPAT design was changed, it had to be transparent glass, but it was changed to dark opaque mirror glass where it is only visible when the light is on for second seconds".

The petition also underlined that there is no procedure for the voter to verify that their vote has been 'counted as recorded'.

The petitioners also gave reference to the top court's 2013 verdict in the Subramanian Swamy versus Election Commission of India case to state that the ECI failed to work on an indispensable part of voter verifiability.

Prashant Bhushan also cited Germany's example, however, he was stopped in half by Justice Dipankar Datta who asked the senior advocate 'What's Germany's population'? "Around 6 crore, my lord, replied Bhushan, then the judge compared it with the number of voters in India.

"Ninety-seven crore is the total number of registered voters. We all know what happened when there were ballot papers," Justice Khanna said.

Another Senior consulate Sanjay Hegde said votes cast on EVMs should be tallied with VVPAT slips, Justice Khanna replied, "Yes, 60 crore VVPAT slips should be counted. Right?"

The Supreme Court told the petitioners now to compare India with European nations.

During the hearing, the court also noticed that there is no provision for punishment it anyone found tampering with EVMs. "This is serious. There should be fear of punishment," he said.

The matter will be heard next on Thursday.

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