The Centre on Wednesday opposed a batch of petitions in the Supreme Court that called for making the use of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails with Electronic Voting Machines mandatory during elections, reported CNN-News 18. The government said VVPATs cannot be used as backup options for EVMs.

“EVMs are reliable and tamper proof, therefore VVPAT units must be considered a backup and an additional measure to ensure transparency in the electoral process,” the Law Ministry said in its affidavit.

The Centre said voters cannot have the right to decide how votes can be cast. “This sphere must necessarily be left to the autonomous expert body, namely the Election Commission of India,” it said, adding that VVPAT machines have a shelf life of 15 years and their replacement will be expensive. “...Any petition seeking a mandatory direction in bringing in VVPAT is liable to be rejected outright.”

The Supreme Court will examine the ministry’s affidavit on Thursday. The bench is hearing a number of public interest litigations that have challenged the credibility of EVMs.

EVMs to have paper trail in Gujarat polls: EC tells SC

Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it will use EVMs with paper trails during the Gujarat Assembly elections later this year, PTI reported.

“The ECI, in its affidavit, has said that it will conduct the Gujarat polls using VVPATs,” said the bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar, and justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and DY Chandrachud. “We are satisfied by the submission. The petition is disposed of.”