Supreme Court Rejects Petitions for 100% VVPAT Verification and Voting via Ballot


New Delhi : The Supreme Court has rejected all the petitions seeking 100 per cent verification of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) votes through Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips. Along with this, the court has also rejected the petitions for voting through ballot paper .

The Supreme Court has given two directions – the first is that after the completion of the symbol loading process, the Symbol Loading Units (SLUs) should be sealed and they should be stored for at least 45 days. Apart from this, the second instruction is that the candidates will have the option to get the microcontroller program of the EVMs checked by a team of engineers after the declaration of results. For this, the candidate will have to apply within seven days of the declaration of results. The candidate will have to bear its expenses himself.

Earlier, after two continuous days of hearing, the bench had reserved its decision on the petitions on April 18. However, on Wednesday the top court had listed the matter again. Then the Supreme Court had sought clarification from the Election Commission regarding some things. After which the court had reserved its decision. While reserving the verdict, the top court had remarked that it cannot control the elections, nor act as a controlling authority for a constitutional body. There are provisions under the law for the wrongdoer to face consequences. The court cannot grant mandamus merely on the basis of suspicion.

The court said it could not change the thought process of those who doubt the benefits of voting machines and advocate a return to ballots. Apart from this, while reserving the decision on Wednesday, the bench had called Deputy Election Commissioner Nitish Vyas in the court and sought clarification on five issues. The court said, we have seen the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about EVMs. We want clarification on three-four things. We do not want to be factually wrong but want to be doubly sure of our decision and hence are seeking this clarification. The five questions to which the bench had sought answers included whether the microcontrollers installed in EVMs are reprogrammable.

On this, Vyas had told the court that microcontrollers are installed in all three units of EVM, voting, control and VVPAT. They cannot be reached physically. These can be programmed only once. He said, EVM machines are usually kept safe for 45 days. In case of filing an election petition, the deadline is extended. Vyas had earlier also informed the court about the working of EVM.

The Supreme Court’s verdict represents a significant milestone in India’s electoral history, reaffirming the credibility and robustness of the democratic process. By rejecting calls for wholesale changes to the voting mechanism, the court has upheld the integrity of the existing electoral framework while providing avenues for scrutiny and accountability. Moving forward, it is imperative for all stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring the smooth conduct of elections and upholding the principles of democracy.


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