In a major setback to the Opposition parties, the Top Court on Tuesday refused to increase the count for the verification of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in the ongoing national elections 2019. Hearing the plea filed by 21 Opposition parties, the Top Court Bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said at the outset that, ‘we are not willing to modify our order’.
Senior Lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Opposition leaders, asserted in the court that plea filed by the opposition viable, reasonable and meaningful.
However, the Top Court declined to consider Singhvi’s argument, asserting that, ‘We are not inclined to modify our earlier order’.
Opposition including Congress and most of its allies under UPA umbrella had on April 24, day after the third phase of polling approached the Top Court with a fresh plea. The Opposition parties in the plea demanded verification of 50% of VVPAT Counts in the national elections 2019.
However, this is not the first time that Opposition parties had approached the Top Court. Earlier hearing the petition filed by Opposition parties, the Highest Court had on April 8 directed the Election Commission to increase the number of VVPAT Verification from one to five in each assembly segment.
Before the Top Court order, only one VVPAT was crosschecked from each assembly segment/seat.
READ: Lok Sabha Polls 2019: Top Court Directs EC to Increase VVPAT Verification from One to Five per Assembly Segment
The leaders of the opposition including the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar,DMK’s TKS Elangovan, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sanjay Singh and Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM) Mahendra Singh held a joint presser on April 24 and announced to approach the Top Court seeking to verify 50% of the VVPAT-EVM Counts in the crucial Lok Sabha Polls 2019.
Earlier the Top Court had sought a response from EC over the demand. The Poll Body in response to the Top Court said that 50% verification of VVPAT in every assembly constituency will delay the Lok Sabha election results by 5-6 days.
VVPATs is a unit attached to EVMs and Control Units and it enables the voter to see the name of Candidate and Party to who is vote cast to.