New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Election Commission to increase random checking of VVPAT slips from one booth per assembly segment to five in Lok Sabha polls for better voter confidence and credibility of the electoral process.

The court’s direction came on a plea by leaders of 21 opposition parties who wanted it to be hiked to 50 per cent of EVM’s per Assembly segment. However, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not agree to the request of 21 opposition parties leaders that 50 per cent VVPAT slips of EVMs be matched, on the ground that it will require huge manpower and not be feasible in view of infrastructural difficulties.

The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, disposed of the petition filed by opposition parties including TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu on the issue.

According to the apex court’s direction, the VVPAT slips of 5 EVMs in every place will be subjected to physical counting. The increase in the VVPAT would neither require additional manpower nor delay the results of the Lok Sabha elections, the court noted.

During the hearing, the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the poll panel several question regarding the information mentioned on the slips and the process in place to authenticate the genuineness of these paper slips.

The court also noted that the EC had put a query before the Indian Statistical Institute regarding a reasonable sample size to verify the EVMs. The institute had responded that a sample of 479 EVMs would generate 99.99 per cent accuracy in results.

The opposition parties had demanded raising the number of EVM machines to 5.17 lakh.

With the first phase of voting starting on April 11, the court hoped this would satisfy both the political parties and the voter.

(With agency inputs)