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Assembly Elections : Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Tomorrow PlL Seeking VVPAT Verification Before Votes Counting

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
8 March 2022 6:01 AM GMT
Assembly Elections : Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Tomorrow PlL Seeking VVPAT Verification Before Votes Counting
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Ahead of the counting of votes in the assembly elections in five states, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear tomorrow a PIL seeking that the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail(VVPAT) slips be verified before the counting of votes recorded in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora mentioned the PIL filed by RTI activist Rakesh Kumar before the Chief Justice...

Ahead of the counting of votes in the assembly elections in five states, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear tomorrow a PIL seeking that the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail(VVPAT) slips be verified before the counting of votes recorded in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora mentioned the PIL filed by RTI activist Rakesh Kumar before the Chief Justice of India for urgent listing tomorrow. The counting in five states is scheduled to take place day after tomorrow, March 10.

Arora submitting that the verification of VVPATs after the counting is over is pointless as by that time the election agents would have left. To ensure transparency, she submitted, it is necessary that the VVPATs are verified in the presence of agents before the counting of votes. She requested for a listing tomorrow, a day before the counting.

"If you come at the last minute, how can we help? The counting is day after tomorrow.  Even if we hear this tomorrow, can we issue such a direction?", CJI Ramana asked.

Arora replied that the Election Commission of India can be asked to follow the direction.

"Let the Election Commission of India be here tomorrow, let us see what can be done", CJI said.

The petition also seeks a direction to increase the number of booths per constituency where the VVPAT verification is done. At present, it is done in five randomly selected booths per constituency, as per the Supreme Court direction in the 2019 case N Chandrababu Naidu & Ors v Union of India and Another (2019) 15 SCC 377.

Relief for increasing randomly selected polling stations for the purpose of mandatory verification of VVPAT paper slips from 5 to 25 and/or proportionately in each Assembly Constituency/Segment has been sought in the PIL.

Kumar in his petition has contended that when the candidates and/or their agents become aware of the outcome of the election during the last round of counting of votes, they do not wait for the counting the VVPAT paper slips of the 5 randomly selected polling stations

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