24 Apr 2024

Supreme Court to Deliver Verdict Today on VVPAT Slips' Full Count

New Delhi: Today, the Supreme Court will announce its decision on a series of petitions urging for the tally of Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with EVM votes during elections. Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, after a two-day hearing, reserved judgment on April 18.

During the comprehensive hearing, the bench engaged extensively with an Election Commission of India (ECI) official to grasp the EVMs' functionality.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the poll panel, emphasized the standalone nature of EVMs, highlighting the impossibility of tampering. But he acknowledged the potential for human error.

Justice Datta stressed the sanctity of the electoral process, urging the removal of apprehensions both within and outside the courtroom.

Addressing the petitioners, the Supreme Court cautioned against excessive suspicion, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging positive actions by the ECI.

In a previous session on April 16, the bench voiced concerns about manual counting. The court stressed the complexity of India's electoral process and cautioned against undermining it.

VVPAT, allowing voters to verify their votes, generates paper slips stored in sealed covers, accessible in case of disputes. Presently, VVPAT slips of five randomly selected EVMs per Assembly segment undergo verification.

Amidst Opposition queries and doubts concerning the EVM system, the petitions advocate for cross-verification of all votes.

Filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and activist Arun Kumar Agarwal, the petitions advocate for the counting of all VVPAT slips. ADR's plea seeks the court's directive to ensure voters can verify their votes via VVPATs.

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