New Delhi: As many as 22 parties of the Opposition on Tuesday submitted a memorandum before the Election Commission, requesting that the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified polling stations should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of last round of counting.
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In the memorandum, they have also demanded that if any discrepancy is found anywhere during the VVPAT verification, 100% counting of paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that assembly segment should be done.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition filed by a group of technocrats seeking directions that the number of machines subject to verification of VVPATs to be increased to 100 per cent on the day of counting. A vacation bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra of the apex court did not find any merit in the petition.
While hearing the plea by a Chennai-based organisation, the bench said that a larger bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had already dealt with the matter and passed an order. “The CJI had dealt with this matter. Why are you taking chance before a two-judge vacation bench,” it reportedly asked.
“We cannot override the CJI’s order… This is nonsense. The petition is taken on board. Dismissed,” Justice Mishra said.
On May 7, the apex court had dismissed a review plea filed by 22 Opposition leaders led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu seeking that random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs be increased to 50 per cent.
Chandrababu Naidu has been insisting that though the EC was not ceding to their demand of counting 50 per cent VVPATs on the grounds that it will delay the entire results by six days, VVPATs can be counted on the same number of tables being used by EVMs and can be done in the presence of a Counting Agent and an Observation Officer to ensure that the counting takes place in a fair and transparent manner.