SC DIRECTS ECI TO INCREASE RANDOM CHECKING OF VVPAT SLIPS
GS 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues
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The Supreme Court on April 8, 2019 directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to increase the random checking of VVPAT slips from 1 EVM to 5 EVMs in each assembly of a parliamentary constituency in Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
- The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said that the objective behind the move is to ensure a higher degree of accuracy and conduct free and fair elections.
- However, the bench did not agree to the request of petitioners to match the VVPAT slips of 50 percent EVMs as it would require huge manpower and is not feasible due to infrastructural difficulties.
- The Apex Court gave this direction after hearing a petition filed by leaders of 21 Opposition political parties led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
- The petitioners were demanding counting and cross verification of the VVPAT slips in at least 50 percent randomly chosen polling stations within each Assembly Constituency.
- The petitioners also challenged the decision of the Election Commission to verify VVPAT of only one randomly selected booth of a constituency.
- In a response to this matter, the Election Commission filed counter-affidavit citing logistical difficulties in carrying out 50 percent verification of VVPAT. The commission said that the verification would delay the announcement of results by at least 6 days
- The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) is a paper slip generated by the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) every time a voter casts his vote, recording the party to whom the vote was made. The VVPAT slip is kept in a sealed cover.
- VVPAT slip counting takes place in the VVPAT counting booths under the close monitoring of the returning officer and direct oversight of the observer.