[dropcap]A[/dropcap] two-judge vacation bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah today dismissed a writ petition seeking 100 per cent physical verification of Voter Verified Paper Audited Trails (VVPATs) with Electronic Voting Machines(EVM).
“The CJI had dealt with this matter. Why are you taking a chance before a two-judge vacation bench,” the apex court asked? “We cannot override the CJI’s order… This is nonsense”, said Justice Mishra while dismissing the petition. “The court cannot entertain similar pleas repeatedly” he said, adding “let the country elect its government”.
The petition was filed by a collective of technocrats who call themselves “Tech4All”. Contending that EVMs were not reliable and were vulnerable to tampering, they sought for their replacement with Optical Ballot Scan machines.
The petition comes in the wake of a similar representation made by 22 opposition party leaders to the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking a random physical verification of VVPAT slips before the counting of votes polled in the current general election and in the case of a discrepancy, a 100 per cent VVPAT verification at all the affected polling stations.
Earlier, on a petition filed by leaders of 21 opposition parties, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna had on April 8, 2019 directed the ECI to increase VVPAT random physical verification from one to five EVMs in each assembly/constituency segment. The court, however, dismissed a review petition filed by opposition leaders to increase the verification up to 50 per cent.