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SC Rejects 100% Cross-Verification Pleas of EVM Votes with VVPAT Slips

evm

The Supreme Court of India has rendered its verdict, dismissing all petitions that sought complete cross-verification of votes cast using Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs). Additionally, the court rejected the proposal to revert to the traditional ballot paper system for elections.

bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta pronounced the judgment. Justice Khanna clarified that the court had extensively deliberated on the protocols and technical aspects, leading to the rejection of the request for 100% verification of EVM votes with VVPAT slips. However, he suggested that the Election Commission of India could explore the use of electronic machines for counting paper slips, possibly incorporating a barcode alongside party symbols.

The court issued two significant directives in EVM-VVPAT issue:

  1. After the symbol loading process in VVPATs, the Symbol Loading Units (SLUs) will be sealed and secured in containers, which will then be stored in strong rooms along with EVMs for at least 45 days post-results.
  2. A team of engineers from EVM manufacturers will verify the burnt memory semicontroller in 5% of EVMs (ballot unit, control unit, and VVPAT) per assembly segment of each parliamentary constituency1.

The VVPAT machine, attached to the ballot unit of the EVM, provides visual verification by printing a slip with the voter’s choice. Advocates for cross-checking all VVPAT slips with EVM votes believe it would enhance transparency in the voting process. The court’s decision reaffirms the credibility of EVMs integrated with VVPATs.

While maintaining a balanced perspective is crucial, blindly distrusting any aspect of the system can hinder progress. The court’s ruling underscores the importance of ensuring electoral integrity while embracing technological advancements.

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