Source: 
Business Standard
https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/sc-to-hear-plea-for-cross-verification-of-evms-with-vvpat-by-voters-124040300653_1.html
Author: 
ANI
Date: 
03.04.2024
City: 
New Delhi

The NGO had sought direction from the Election Commission and the Centre to ensure the voters are able to verify through VVPATs that their vote has been 'counted as recorded'

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would hear next week a plea seeking cross-verification by the voters of votes cast by them as "counted as recorded" in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

A bench headed by Justices Sanjiv Khanna said this after advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO Association of Democratic Reforms pleaded that the matter should be heard urgently in view of upcoming elections.

If the case is not heard, the plea would become infructuous, the bench was told.

Justice Khanna, who was sitting in a special bench along with Justice MM Sundresh and Bela M Trivedi, said the court is aware of the situation and would hear the matter next week.

The seven-phase Lok Sabha polls will begin on April 19.

In July last year, the apex court asked the Election Commission of India to respond to the plea.

The NGO had sought direction from the Election Commission and the Centre to ensure the voters are able to verify through VVPATs that their vote has been "counted as recorded".

Declare unconstitutional the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 and the practice and procedure of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to the extent that they violate the fundamental right of the voters to verify through VVPATs that their vote has been "recorded as cast" and "counted as recorded", the plea said.

The requirement of the 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 for the voters to verify that their vote has been recorded on the internally printed VVPAT slip before the slip falls into the 'ballot box', it stated.

It said there is a complete vacuum in law as the poll panel has provided no procedure for the voter to verify that his or her vote has been 'counted as recorded' which is an indispensable part of voter verifiability.

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