The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking 100% verification of the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails with the results from Electronic Voting Machines during counting of votes on May 23, reported Bar and Bench. The vacation bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah did not find any merit in the plea.
The petitioner, NGO Tech4All, had said that voting machines were not reliable and were vulnerable to tampering. They also sought replacement of EVMs with optical ballot scan machines in the long run, reported Live Law.
The court called the petition a nuisance. “Can’t keep entertaining similar pleas,” said Justice Mishra, according to Bar and Bench.
Mishra also pointed out that a larger bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had already dealt with the matter and passed an order, reported PTI. “Why are you taking chance before a two-judge vacation bench?” the court asked. “We cannot override the CJI’s order... This is nonsense.”
Last month, the Supreme Court had ordered that VVPAT slips be used to verify votes for five electronic voting machines in every constituency during the ongoing elections instead of just one. The court had said this practice would ensure the “greatest degree of accuracy, satisfaction” in the election process. The review plea claimed that the “increase from one to five was not a reasonable number”.
On May 7, the Supreme Court declined to hear a review petition against that order, filed by 21 Opposition parties, urging it to direct the Election Commission to cross-check at least 50% votes using VVPAT slips.
The Election Commission had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that verification of 50% of votes would delay the announcement of results by six days.