On Monday the Delhi High Court directed the Election Commission to decide representations made to it for inspection of record of the printed paper slips generated from the VVPAT electronic devices during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Petitioner had approached the high court stating that there were various discrepancies in the counting of votes and thus, a thorough inspection of the record was essential.
He had also prayed that the Commission be directed to use appropriate prototype of VVPAT system in the future, in which the printer is kept open. This regime, he suggested, would prelude more transparency as the printed ballot will get cut and fall in a tray in front of the printer; the voter will pick it up from the tray, verify it, fold it and bring it out of voting compartment and drop the same in a sealed box kept for this purpose in front of the presiding officer before leaving the polling station.
He further sought manual counting of the printed paper slips in the dropbox of the printer in respect of any polling station in all future Legislative Assembly elections and/or Parliamentary elections where paper trail has been introduced.
Noting that a representation in this behalf was already pending before the Commission, the division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar dismissed the case while also asking the Commission to provide an appropriate response to the Petitioner.
"It appears that the representations preferred by this petitioner…are yet to be decided by the respondent as submitted by petitioner in person.
In view of this submission, we hereby direct the respondent to consider the grievances ventilated by the petitioner especially in the representations as stated hereinabove and decide those representations in accordance with law, rules, regulations and Government policies applicable to the facts of the present case after keeping in mind the various decisions rendered by Hon'ble the Supreme Court of India in this regard," the court said.
Last year, the Supreme Court had directed physical verification of VVPAT for 5 randomly chosen EVMs in each assembly segment of a parliamentary constituency should be physically verified. The bench headed by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi had said that the objective behind this was to ensure a higher degree of accuracy and to enhance the satisfaction in free and fair elections of not just the political parties but of the people of the country.
Case Title: Hans Raj Jain v. Election Commission of India
Case No.: WP (C) 12163/2019
Quorum: Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar
Appearance: Advocate Sidhant Kumar (for ECI)
Click Here To Download Order