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The Gujarat High Court today directed the Chief Electoral Officer to file an affidavit detailing the steps taken to raise awareness among voters about the use of EVMs with VVPATs in the forthcoming polls. A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi directed the CEO to file the affidavit on November 16 when the matter will be heard next. The court was hearing a PIL seeking direction to the respondents, including the Election Commission and the Gujarat CEO, to "initiate the process to create awareness regarding the use of EVMs with Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) for free and fair election process safeguard (so) the voters can realise and ensure whom their votes have been cast." Petitioner K R Koshti said the state electoral officer had not issued any directions to government machinery to take measures to create awareness regarding the usage and functioning of EVMs with VVPATs. "Despite representation to the EC to take measures to create awareness regarding usage and functioning of EVMs with VVPATs, nothing has been done so far. It is required as most of the people in India are not aware about the functioning of electronic gadgets," the PIL said. The PIL sought that voters are made aware about how to use, check and ensure whether the votes cast have been registered or not.
This is of utmost importance to ensure that the democratic process is not derailed, it said. This is the first time that the Election Commission will introduce VVPATs across all polling booths in Gujarat where elections will be held in two phases on December 9 and December 14. The counting of votes will be taken up on December 18.
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