Thursday, May 23, 2024
India News

Supreme Court on EVM-VVPAT cross-verification: What judges said in the verdict?

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta delivered two separate but concurring judgments on the matter. Here are the key takeaways from the hearing:

1. Justice Khanna, stated that the court had rejected all petitions, including those requesting a return to using ballot papers in elections. Supreme Court says it’s has given two directions — one direction is after the completion of the symbol loading process, the Symbol Loading Unit (SLU) should be sealed and they should be stored at least for a period of 45 days, LiveLaw reported.

Also Read: No 100% verification of EVM-VVPATs, says Supreme Court

2. The burnt memory in the microcontroller EVM shall be checked by a team of engineers after the declaration of results on a request by candidates in serial numbers 2 and 3, such a request is to be made within 7 days after the declaration of results. “The actual cost to be borne by the candidate making the request. Expenses to be refunded in case the EVMs are found to be tampered with,” he said. Justice Datta said that blindly distrusting a system can lead to “unwarranted suspicions”.

3. Justice Khanna further asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to examine the suggestion for an electronic machine for vote counting the paper slips and whether along with the symbol, there can be a bar code for each party.

4. After completing the process of loading symbols into the EVMs, undertaken on or after May 1, 2024, the SLUs must be sealed and stored in secure containers. “The candidates and their representatives shall sign the seal. The sealed containers containing the SLUs shall be kept in the storerooms along with the EVMs at least for 45 days post the declaration of results,” he added.

Also Read: ‘We cannot control the election…,’ says Supreme Court as it reserves verdict on EVM-VVPAT verification

5. “The burnt memory semicontroller in 5% of the EVMs that is the Control Unit, Ballot Unit and the VVPAT per assembly constituency per parliamentary constituency shall be checked and verified by a team of engineers from the manufacturers of the EVM post the announcement of results on a written request by candidates 2 and 3,” Justice Khanna noted.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) was one of the petitioners seeking to overturn the Election Commission’s 2017 decision to replace the transparent glass on VVPAT machines with opaque glass, which only allows a voter to view the slip when the light is on for seven seconds.

ADR aimed to align the count in EVMs with votes “recorded as cast” and to ensure that voters could confirm through the VVPAT slip that their vote, as recorded on paper, had been “counted as recorded.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 26 Apr 2024, 11:36 AM IST