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SC dismisses PIL seeking 100 pc VVPAT verification

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea filed by a group of technocrats seeking a direction that all votes on Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) be verified with voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPATs).

A vacation bench of the apex court headed by Justice Arun Mishra, and comprising Justice MR Shah did not find any merit in the petition. "We dismiss the petition," Justice Mishra said.

"We would not entertain such kind of plea over and over again. We cannot come in the way of people electing their representatives," Justice Mishra said while dismissing the petition.

Coming down heavily on the petitioners, Justice Mishra termed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) "nuisance".

Apart from their demand to increase VVPAT verification to 100 per cent, the petitioners also demanded replacement of EVMs with optical ballot scan machines for future elections.

"As technocrats, we submit that in the long term the EVM should be replaced by optical ballot scan machine which upholds the tangible secret ballot system, verifiable even by a common man coupled with cost-effectiveness," the petition said.

Optical scan voting machine allows a voter to manually mark their vote on a paper ballot which is scanned for electronic tabulation.

On May 7, twenty-one Opposition parties urged the Election Commissioner to match at least 50 per cent electronic voting machines with VVPAs after their petition of the same effect was rejected by the top court.

Current provisions say five randomly-selected EVMs will be verified in each assembly segment with the VVPAT slips.