WHY NOT INCREASE THE VVPAT COUNT, ASKS SC
26, Mar 2019
Prelims level : Polity / Governance – Supreme Court Mains level : GS – II Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e- governance- applications
- The Supreme Court insisted to increase the random physical verification of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, though the idea was met with stiff resistance from the Election Commission.
- According to Deputy Election Commissioner the current practice of physically checking the VVPAT paper slips of one randomly selected polling station in an Assembly constituency and each Assembly segment in the case of the Lok Sabha election was all that is needed. There was no need whatsoever to extend the physical count of VVPATs.
- In 2013, in the Subramanian Swamy case, the Supreme Court held that the paper trail through VVPAT of votes cast was an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections.
What are VVPAT machines?
- The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail is a method that provides feedback to voters. It is an independent verification printer machine and is attached to electronic voting machines.
- It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.
How do VVPAT machines work?
- When a voter presses a button in the EVM, a paper slip is printed through the VVPAT. The slip contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate. It allows the voter to verify his/her choice.
- After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip will be cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard. VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.
What is the Election Commission’s stand on the issue?
- The EC has time and again reiterated that EVMs cannot be tampered with It has made public the findings of inquiries into specific charges of tampering in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind and Rajasthan’s Dholpur that give a clean chit to the machines.
- With the Opposition insisting on doing away with the EVMs and the controversy refusing to die down, the EC has now thrown open a challenge, inviting computer experts and political leaders to prove that the machines can be hacked, in the presence of the EVM manufacturers.