Supreme Court Rejects Pleas For Paper Ballot Voting, 100% Cross-Verification

Supreme Court Rejects Pleas For Paper Ballot Voting, 100% Cross-Verification

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea seeking 100% cross-verification of votes polled on EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail, or VVPAT. The apex court also rejected the idea of going back to the paper ballot system, as well as the idea of handing over the VVPAT slips to the voter for verification.

The court has suggested suggested ECI to consider whether we can have an electronic machine for counting the VVPAT paper slips.

However, the court has issued two directions:

  • On completion of the symbol loading process undertaken on or after May 1, 2024, the symbol loading unit shall be sealed and kept in the strong room along with the EVMs for at least 45 days after the results are declared. They shall be opened and examined, just like EVMs.

  • Candidates who are at positions two and three behind the highest polled candidate can seek verification of the burnt memory semi-controller in 5% of the EVMs per assembly segment of the constituency. A team of engineers from the EVM manufacturers must carry out this exercise. This request should be made within 7 days of the declaration of results.

The court said that after the verification is complete, the candidate seeking the verification will have to bear the expenses; however, they shall be refunded if the EVMs are found to be tampered with.

The bench noted that, while a balanced perspective is important, blindly doubting a system can breed unwarranted scepticism and impede progress. “A critical, constructive approach guided by evidence and reason must be followed to ensure meaningful improvements in the system,”  it said.

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