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Supreme Court reserves verdict on VVPAT case

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The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking a cent per cent cross-verification of the vote count in Electronic Voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) paper slips. 

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta posed a series of questions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) about the functioning of EVMs. During the hearing, the bench extensively interacted with ECI official to understand the workings of the EVMs and VVPATs and their security features.

ECI assured that it is impossible to tamper with EVMs at any stage. It further clarified that the microcontrollers cannot be accessed physically and have a one-time programme burnt into them. ECI added that there have been 41,629 instances of random verification to date, and over four crore VVPAT paper slips were matched. 

While reposing faith in the ECI, the Bench clarified that it would look into the possible reforms needed to strengthen the current polling system. The Supreme Court, however, disagreed with the idea of a return to paper ballots. 

The ECI also asserted that the complete counting of the VVPAT slips is not practically feasible. Currently, VVPAT slips of five randomly selected EVMs in every assembly segment are verified.

The petitioners, including the Association for Democratic Reforms, had argued that 97 crore registered voters in the country had a right to a more transparent electoral system, with or without EVMs.

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