The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused urgent listing of a plea seeking verification of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) before the counting of votes.
The Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli had agreed in the morning to list the matter for hearing on Wednesday.However, the bench refused to list the matter for tomorrow for hearing saying that it doesn’t want to issue any direction at the last moment.
“Let counting go on as per established practice, procedures and laws. We would have to list the matter before an appropriate bench and which, if satisfied with the relief sought by Naidu, would issue notice to seek EC’s response. The matter will be heard only after the counting process is over for assembly polls.”
Election Commission Counsel, Maninder Singh claimed that the Supreme Court had laid down a process for VVPAT verification, which is being followed.
Senior Counsel, Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the petitioner mentioned the matter for urgent hearing, she said that the verification process of VVPAT is after counting is over and by that time all election agents have left, so there is no transparency.
If verification is after counting is over, then there is no use. Verification should be first when there are agents, parties and candidates.
The Chief Justice of India said that there are 2019 guidelines in this regard in which the Supreme Court had directed to verify the VVPAT paper trail. The court had ordered to raise the number from one EVM to five EVMs per Assembly Segment/Assembly Constituency.
The court asked the petitioner about the delay in filing the matter before the court.
The counting of votes for the assembly elections of five states- Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab and Goa is scheduled to be held on March 10.