Deccan Chronicle
DC Correspondent
New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hear on April 16 the pleas against cross-checking of votes cast with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). The VVPAT is an independent vote verification system that enables a voter to see whether his vote was cast correctly. The system generates a paper slip that can be viewed by the voter at the time of casting the vote. It is kept in a sealed cover and can be opened in case of a dispute.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, which could not take up the petitions related to Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the day, said it will consider all pleas in the matter for hearing on next Tuesday (April 16). The seven-phase parliamentary polls will begin on April 19.

On April 3, the top court had said it would hear next week the plea filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms along with other matters, after advocate Prashant Bhushan sought an urgent hearing. On April 1, the top court had sought responses from the Election Commission of India and the Centre on a plea by activist Arun Kumar Agrawal seeking a complete count of VVPAT slips in polls in contrast to the current practice of tallying slips from only five randomly selected EVMs from each Assembly segment comprising a parliamentary constituency.

The ADR has sought the court’s direction to the poll panel and the Centre to ensure the voters are able to verify through VVPATs that their vote has been “counted as recorded”.

“There is a complete vacuum in law as the ECI has provided no procedure for the voter to verify that the vote has been “counted as recorded”. The failure of the ECI to provide for the same is in the teeth of purport and object of the directions issued by this Court in…Subramanian Swamy versus Election Commission of India (2013 verdict),” the plea said.

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