The Supreme Court Monday sought Election Commission's response on a plea seeking mandatory counting of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) of at least 30 per cent of all EVMs used in a Constituency in every election.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul issued notice to EC on a petition, which also sought directions to it to make it mandatory for Returning Officer to order hand-counting of all the VVPAT slips of every polling station where the margin of victory is very narrow, less than 3 per cent.
Besides, it has sought making it mandatory for the poll panel to ask Returning Officer to order hand-counting of all VVPAT slips of all the polling stations where the discrepancy between the machine-counting total and the hand-counting total in respect of the 5 per cent sample EVMs taken together is more than 1 per cent.
The PIL filed by M G Devasahayam (Nagarcoil, Tamil Nadu), Kalarickal Pranchu Fabian (Delhi) and Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev (Chennai) through advocate Prasanna S contended that such cross-verification and counting of VVPAT slips is essential in the interests of 'Democracy Principles'.
Elections should adhere to the requirements of transparency so that the general public can be satisfied that their vote is correctly recorded and counted, it said.
Further, it said, all essential steps in the elections ought to be subject to public scrutiny and ordinary citizens ought to be able to check the essential steps in the election process without special expert knowledge and there ought to be verifiability in the counting of votes and ascertainment of the results reliably without any special technical knowledge.
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