SC to hear plea on VVPAT slips

New Delhi, March 8 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on Wednesday a PIL seeking a direction that the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips be verified before votes recorded in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are counted in the five state assembly elections. Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora mentioned the PIL before a Bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana for urgent listing to which the latter agreed. Counting of votes polled in the five states is scheduled to take place on March 10. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by RTI activist Rakesh Kumar. Arora mentioned that the verification of VVPAT is currently done after the counting of votes is over, rendering the exercise moot. “Verification of VVPAT is done after counting is over and by that time all election agents have left. So, there is no transparency,” Arora submitted to the Supreme Court. “If verification is done after counting is over, then there is no use. Verification should be done first when there are agents, parties and candidates,” she said. CJI Ramana said there are 2,019 guidelines in this regard Arora, however, said that currently verification is done only with respect to one booth per polling station. SM MR

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