Supreme Court in favour of increasing random physical verification of VVPATs

  1. The Supreme Court has said that it was in favour of increasing random physical verification of VVPAT in assembly and parliamentary elections. However, the Election commission has been resisting this proposal.
  2. The Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission to file an affidavit on 28th march 2019 to explaining the rationality behind restricting physical counting of VVPATs to one polling station. Further, the affidavit should also indicate the logistics and time required in case the sample verification of VVPATs was extended to more than one polling station.
  3. Supreme Court’s response and direction comes in the backdrop of a plea filed by opposition political parties which demanded the random verification of at least 50% Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) using VVPAT in every Assembly segment or constituency.
  4. Opposition parties have argued that this would increase voter confidence and make the electoral process more transparent. The plea had referred to the 1975 verdict of the Supreme Court in the case of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi which held that free and fair elections are part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India. It had also referred to the 2013 verdict of the SC in the Subramanian Swami Case where it was held that VVPAT for EVMs was an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections.
  5. Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is an independent system attached to an EVM that allows the voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended. At present, VVPAT slips in one randomly chosen polling station per constituency are tallied with EVM results.