The Supreme Court will on Monday hear a plea filed by 21 opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, seeking that VVPAT slips of at least 50 per cent of voting machines in each assembly constituency be checked randomly in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
On March 25, the top court had favoured increasing the random physical verification of VVPAT slips in the upcoming general elections and told the Election Commission that “no institution should insulate itself from improvement, including the judiciary”.
It asked the EC to file response as to whether it can increase the number of sample surveys of VVPAT slips from one in each assembly segment for the upcoming general and assembly elections.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta asked the EC to file its reply on affidavit indicating the reasons of its satisfaction that purity of elections can be maintained and is being maintained.
At the outset, the bench told the deputy election commissioner Sudeep Jain, appearing in person, whether the poll panel can increase the number of random physical verification of VVPAT slips with EVMs from the existing stipulation of only one polling station per assembly segment.
On March 29, the Election Commission told the Supreme Court that counting of VVPAT slips of 50 per cent EVMs could delay declaration of results by five days with no gain to the existing 99.99 per cent voter confidence in the voting machines.
The poll panel had also informed that top court that the present method of counting the VVPAT slips was the most suitable. It justified the existing system of random counting of the VVPAT slips from one polling booth per assembly segment.
The EC said in future elections, it may consider any suggestions which result in further improving the holding of polls in free and fair manner.
The poll panel said the present system which is being adopted for the imminent elections be allowed to be continued as "it has been found to be most suitable".
The poll panel currently adopts a system of counting of VVPAT slips in one polling booth per assembly constituency in the Vidhan Sabha polls and in one polling booth in each assembly segment for the Lok Sabha polls.