SC Adjourns Opposition’s Plea Seeking 50% VVPAT Verification
A Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) or verified paper record (VPR) machine.

SC Adjourns Opposition’s Plea Seeking 50% VVPAT Verification

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The Supreme Court on Monday, 1 April, adjourned a plea by 21 Opposition parties seeking 50 percent VVPAT count to 8 April, to enable the petitioner to file a reply to the Election Commission's affidavit. This comes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, with the first phase scheduled to be held on 11 April. The counting of votes will take place on 23 May.

The EC on Friday, 29 March, told the Supreme Court that the Opposition leaders have been unable to raise any ground for altering the existing system of random counting of the VVPAT slips from one polling booth per Assembly segment, which was "found to be most suitable" after due studies and tests.

Checking of half the VVPATs, EC asserted, could delay declaration of results of the general elections by up to six days.

EC sought dismissal of their petition seeking that VVPAT slips of at least 50 percent of voting machines in each Assembly constituency be checked randomly in the Lok Sabha elections next month.

"Any further increase in the sample size of verification will lead to very negligible gain in the confidence level, which currently is way above 99.99 percent," the poll panel said.

It said issues raised by them have already been considered, studied and determined and the decision has been taken to conduct the present elections by adopting the prevalent system of counting of VVPAT slips.

On 25 March, the EC was asked 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.

"It is submitted that with the imminent elections issues raised in the instant petitions are matters that have already been considered, studied and determined by the Election Commission of India and have since culminated in adopting the course of conduct of the imminent election in the present manner," the EC said in its affidavit.

(With inputs from PTI)

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