New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear next week, the review petition filed by Opposition parties seeking VVPAT slip counting of 50% EVMs for Lok Sabha elections.
Twenty-one Opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, had moved the Supreme Court seeking review of its April 8 order which directed the EC to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per Assembly segment in the ongoing general elections.
Naidu, who had earlier sought 50 per cent random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs, sought the review of the apex court’s order saying that the “increase from 1 (one) to 5 (five) is not a ‘reasonable number’ and does not lead to the satisfaction desired by this court”.
The Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission to increase random checking of VVPAT slips from one booth per Assembly segment to five. However, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not agree to the request 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.
According to the apex court’s direction, the VVPAT slips of five 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 questions 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 to increase the number of EVM machines to 5.17 lakh.