SC asks ECI to verify allegations that BJP got extra votes in EVMs during mock polls

Petitioners cited the charges that EVMs showed one extra vote for BJP in a mock poll

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The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to verify allegations made by advocate Prashant Bhushan that four EVMs were recording one extra vote for BJP during a mock poll held in Kasaragod, Kerala.

The directive was issued by a bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta while considering a report regarding the EVM issue during the hearing of the pleas seeking complete cross-verification of votes cast through EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), reported Live Law.

The SC, in its oral directive, said the electoral process has to have a sanctity. "Let nobody have apprehension that something which is expected is not being done," the bench told ECI.

Bhushan cited a report that appeared in Manorama Online about the complaints raised during mock polls conducted on the EVMs in the Kasargod constituency in Kerala. As per the report, both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) gave complaints to the District Collector that at least four electronic voting machines (EVM) erroneously registered extra votes in favour of the BJP.

The top court also demanded the ECI explain the working of EVM-VVPAT. To this, the poll body said that before the machines are placed in the strong room, all machines are checked via mock polling in the presence of representatives of all political parties.

During the hearing Advocate Nizham Pasha, appearing for one of the petitioners, said a voter should be allowed to take the VVPAT slip after he votes and deposit it in a ballot box. On Justice Khanna's question whether it would affect voter's privacy, Pasha replied, "Voter privacy cannot be used to defeat voter's rights."

On Tuesday, the top court had raised doubts about the petitioner's arguments regarding the feasibility of the physical counting of votes given the large population of India. 

Bhushan had contended the need to go back to election via ballot paper instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Justice Sanjiv Khanna said, "We are in our 60s. We all know what happened when there were ballot papers; you may have, but we have not forgotten."

The apex court also rejected the arguments of Bhushan, appearing for the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), about how most European countries that had opted for voting through EVMs have returned to paper ballots.


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