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Not Satisfied With Counting of 5 VVPATs, Congress Seeks Review of Supreme Court Order

Party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that as a citizen of India he was concerned why Rs 18,000 crore were spent on VVPATs if they were not to be used in elections.

PTI

Updated:April 8, 2019, 8:33 PM IST
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Not Satisfied With Counting of 5 VVPATs, Congress Seeks Review of Supreme Court Order
File photo of election officials checking VVPAT machines. (PTI)

New Delhi: The Congress on Monday urged the Supreme Court to review its decision on matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs, saying it is not satisfied with the counting being held in only five booths in each assembly segment.

Party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that as a citizen of India he was concerned why Rs 18,000 crore were spent on VVPATs if they were not to be used in elections.

"No, we are not satisfied with counting only five VVPATs. As a citizen, I feel if I am going to pay for Rs 18,000 crore for VVPATs, the democracy enjoins upon every constitutional authority, every government to ensure that election is free, fair, proper and without an iota of doubt regarding exercise of franchise by every individual," he said.

"I think, the Supreme Court should re-examine its decision," he told reporters.

He asked whether the Supreme Court was in doubt about the authenticity of the EVMs that it ordered the purchase of VVPATs. "VVPAT is not a voluntary step taken by any government or a political party," he said.

Surjewala claimed VVPATs have been implemented pursuant to the apex court's order of a paper trail for every certifiable vote because they are doubtful that Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) could be possibly tampered with.

"Is the exchequer's money for being wasted or for being appropriately utilised for strengthening democracy," he asked.

The Supreme Court directed the Election Commission Monday to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per assembly segment, from one at present, in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, saying it will bring more "credibility" and "integrity" to the electoral process.

The apex court, however, did not agree to the demand of 21 opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, for counting of at least 50 percent of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines per assembly segment.

The EC currently follows a system of random counting of VVPAT slips in one polling booth per assembly segment of a parliamentary or assembly constituency.

"It is our considered view and having regard to the totality of the facts, it would generate greater satisfaction and will foolproof the electoral process if number of VVPAT machines is increased to five per assembly segment of each parliamentary constituency," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

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