The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a plea by Trinamool Congress leader seeking a direction to the Election Commission to introduce 100 percent Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system in the EVMs amid the ongoing polls. VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters using EVMs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said: “We are not going to interfere in the middle of the election process.” The counsel, appearing for petitioner Gopal Seth, contended that free and fair election was a right of the citizens. The bench responded: “We agree with you on this, but we will not interfere.”
Seth had moved the top court challenging the Calcutta High Court order which refused to entertain his plea. The Chief Justice queried petitioner’s counsel whether his client had moved a representation before the Election Commission. Seth’s counsel responded in affirmative and contended that the poll body had appreciated the suggestion. The bench reiterated that it will not interfere in the matter.
A VVPAT is considered as an independent verification system for voting machines, which allow voters to verify whether they have corrected cast their vote. The poll body decided to use VVPAT, along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) at all the polling stations in the Assembly elections in four states and Union territory.
However, it was decided to count VVPAT slips of five randomly selected polling stations in each Assembly constituency. This methodology was deployed for verification of the result obtained from the Control Unit. The exercise was followed in accordance with the previous order of the apex court.