The Supreme Court on Monday ordered to increase VVPAT verification from one EVM per constituency to 5 EVMs in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that increasing the VVPAT verification is to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy, satisfaction in the election process. Not only political parties but the poor should be satisfied will the electoral process, he said. At present only one EVM per assembly segment is taken up for VVPAT paper slip matching. The VVPAT machine gives instant feedback to the voter, through a printed slip.
The Court order came on a joint petition by 21 opposition parties, which wanted 50 per cent of the EVMs be matched with VVPATs.
“At the outset, we would like to observe we are not doubting it may be possible that the system gives accurate results,” said Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in the order. “But if the number increases, it would increase the greater satisfaction - the endeavour is to find to find a viable number of VVPAT,” he said, according to Live Law.
Earlier, Supreme Court granted a week’s time to the 21 opposition parties to file their response on the Election Commission affidavit opposing the former’s plea seeking that VVPAT slips to be increased.
The EC, asked on March 25 by the apex court to give its view on increasing the number of random sample surveys from one booth per assembly segment, said that in the future elections it may consider suggestions for further improving the holding of polls in free and fair manner.
The affidavit said that the 21 opposition leaders have not disclose "even one specific instance for this Court to come to a conclusion that the existing system would in any manner adversely influence the free and fair elections."
Further, the poll panel said the petition by them does not raise any new or different apprehension or grievance as was raised in the earlier cases, nor brings out any grave or serious reason requiring a revamping of the system that has been adopted for the purpose of the conduct of the 2019 elections.