Millennium Post
Team MP
New Delhi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court is expected to deliver a verdict on Wednesday regarding a series of petitions that demand a thorough cross-check of votes cast via Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) against the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) records.

VVPAT serves as an independent system for voters to confirm that their votes are accurately recorded.

Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, who are presiding over the case, will announce the court’s decision, which was previously deferred on April 18.

The court emphasised the critical nature of voter confidence in the electoral process during the hearings. It advised the petitioners, who had proposed a return to paper ballots, to trust the reliability of EVMs and acknowledge the Election Commission’s efforts when successful.

The NGO ‘Association for Democratic Reforms’ (ADR), a petitioner in the case, has challenged the Election Commission’s 2017 move to switch VVPAT machines’ transparent glass with an opaque one, limiting voters’ view of the slip to a brief seven-second window when illuminated.

In the extensive hearings, the bench spent considerable time with Deputy Election Commissioner Nitesh Kumar Vyas to grasp EVM operations. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing ADR, was reminded that voter satisfaction and trust are fundamental to the voting process.

Representing the Election Commission, senior advocate Maninder Singh argued that while EVMs are secure and tamper-proof, human errors cannot be entirely excluded.

Earlier on April 16, the apex court criticised the disparagement of EVMs and the suggestion to revert to ballot papers, highlighting the complexity of India’s electoral process and warning against undermining the system.

The ongoing seven-phase Lok Sabha elections commenced on April 19, with the second phase scheduled for April 26.

ADR’s plea includes a request for the EVM vote count to match the verifiably “recorded as cast” votes and for voters to be able to confirm via the VVPAT slip that their vote, as documented on the paper slip, has been “counted as recorded”.

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