New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Election Commission’s response on a plea by Opposition leaders seeking the counting of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips of 50 per cent of EVMs in each constituency before the Lok Sabha results are declared.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna listed the plea of the opposition leaders for March 25 and asked the EC to depute an officer to assist the court. Several opposition leaders, including Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and others, had moved the apex court, seeking the verification of 50 per cent of votes by paper trail before announcing the results of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Naidu, the lead petitioner, had declared in February that the parties will be moving the apex court against the use of EVMs. The application has been moved by 21 Opposition parties, including the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI(Marxist), CPI, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Loktantrik Janata Dal and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
The move comes after the Opposition parties met at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence. The parties had raised apprehensions in a meeting with the EC in February about the credibility of EVMs, although the poll panel has denied allegations of machines being tampered with. The EC, while announcing the Lok Sabha election schedule, had said that mandatory checking of EVMs and VVPAT will be done on the basis of one polling station for each Lok Sabha constituency.