Sunil Prabhu
New Delhi

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Association for Democratic Reforms, had cited Germany's example

In a sharp response to petitioners citing examples of foreign countries to argue in favour of the ballot voting system, a Supreme Court judge said the population of his home state is more than that of Germany and that "European examples don't work here".

"My home state West Bengal's population is more than that of Germany. We need to trust someone. Don't try to bring down the system like this. Don't cite such examples. European examples don't work here," Justice Dipankar Datta said.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Association for Democratic Reforms, had cited Germany's example while arguing that VVPAT paper slips need to be counted and matched with the EVM results. When Justice Datta asked him what is the population of Germany, he replied it is about 5 crores, while India has 50-60 crore voters.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna had intervened to say India has 97 registered voters and flagged drawbacks in the ballot voting method. "We are in our 60s. We all know what happened when there were ballot papers. You may have, but we have not forgotten," Justice Khanna said.

The VVPAT -- Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail -- enables a voter to see if the vote was cast properly and went to the candidate he/she supports. The VVPAT generates a paper slip that is kept in a sealed cover and can be opened if there is a dispute. Amid the Opposition's questions and apprehensions regarding the EVM system of voting, the petitions call for cross-verification of every vote.

The petitions have been filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and activist Arun Kumar Agarwal. Mr Agarwal has sought the counting of all VVPAT slips. The ADR's petition seeks the court's direction to the Election Commission and the Centre to ensure that voters are able to verify through VVPATs that their vote has been "counted as recorded". The petition says that the requirement of voters verifying that their votes have been "recorded as cast" is somewhat met when the VVPAT slip is displayed for about seven seconds after pressing the button on the EVM through a transparent window.

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