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Thursday, June 13, 2024

SC rejects all paper ballot pleas, total EVM-VVPAT verification & physical slip deposit

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday rejected pleas for paper ballot voting, complete EVM-VVPAT verification, and physical deposit of VVPAT slips while suggesting measures for effective functioning of the polling system as the second phase of Lok Sabha election got underway.

A bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta passed their order in two separate but concurring judgments in which they elaborately discussed the protocols and technical aspects.

The bench rejected all the pleas that demanded paper ballot voting, complete EVM-VVPAT verification, and physical deposit of VVPAT slips.

Justice Khanna said, “We have given two directions. One direction is after the completion of the symbol loading process, the Symbol Loading Unit should be sealed. The SLU should be stored at least for 45 days.”

Justice Khanna further directed the Election Commission (ECI) that the burnt memory in the microcontroller EVM shall be checked by a team of engineers after the declaration of results on a request by any candidate in serial number 2 and 3.

The court further said such a request was to be made by the aggrieved candidate within 7 days after the declaration of results. The expenses for the verification (of the program) are to be borne by the candidates making the request, in case the EVM is found to be tampered with, the expenses will be refunded, Justice Khanna said.

Justice Datta said that blindly distrusting a system can lead to unwarranted suspicions.

The Court’s orders came on a batch of writ petitions filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), and others seeking to have the VVPATS along with the EVMs.

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