Over 20 opposition parties approach Supreme Court on EVMs, hearing today

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 15 March 2019, 12:01 AM
Representational Image
Representational Image

With the Lok Sabha elections less than a month away, at least 21 opposition parties on Thursday approached the Supreme Court demanding the Electronic Voting Machines to be tamper-free. The top court has listed the petitions for hearing on Friday.

The parties have also demanded that at least 50 per cent of the voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) be counted and matched with the tally of EVMs.

The development comes days after the Election Commission, while announcing the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, said that VVPATswill be used in all polling stations along with EVMs.

VVPAT or paper trail machine is a device which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip appears on a small window for seven seconds and then drops in a box. The voter cannot take it home. 

There have been demands to increase the number of polling stations where EVM and VVPAT results are matched to dispel fears about electronic voting machines being 'hacked' to favour a particular political party. 

Parties parties have demanded that 10 to 30 per cent paper trail slips per constituency be counted to ensure there is no rigging and to assure voters that the electronic voting machines are working fine and have not been rigged. 

Though most of these parties are in favour of the EC reverting to ballot papers, in view of the short time before the upcoming Lok Sabha polls they are focusing on technical back-up arrangements to protect the credibility of EVMs. 

They demanded that the EC must be sensitive to the growing doubts among people about the credibility of the EVMs, and therefore, must take steps to assuage the feeling of the voters. 
Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and continue for over a month till May 19 across seven phases, followed by counting of votes on May 23, the Election Commission announced on Sunday, kick-starting a mega electoral battle where the BJP will pitch for a re-election of the Modi government amid the Opposition's efforts for a united fight to unseat it.
The polling will be held on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19 for 543 Lok Sabha seats across the country in which nearly 90 crore voters would be eligible to vote.
 
Assembly elections will also be held in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, the CEC said.
 
However, elections for Jammu and Kashmir assembly have been deferred, the EC said citing security reasons. The state has been under President's Rule after the ruling alliance between the BJP and Peoples Democratic Party fell apart last year. 
First Published: Thursday, March 14, 2019 07:08 PM
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