Review Petition Challenges SC’s EVM VVPAT Judgment

Review Petition Challenges SC's Decision on EVM VVPAT Judgment

A review petition has been submitted to the Supreme Court, contesting its decision to dismiss the proposal of returning to paper ballots and verifying Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) votes with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

Judgement in Question

On April 26, a panel comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta dismissed concerns about potential EVM manipulation as baseless. They rejected calls to return to paper ballots, asserting that EVMs were secure and effectively prevented booth capturing and fraudulent voting. The ruling provided an opportunity for candidates who were unsuccessful in elections but secured second or third place to request verification of micro-controller chips in five percent of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) per assembly constituency. This verification could be requested in writing, accompanied by a fee. In addition, the ruling stipulated that symbol loading units (SLUs) have to be sealed and kept in a safe container next to the EVMs for a minimum of 45 days until the announcement of election results, as of May 1. Furthermore, Public Interest Litigations (PILs) for a return to the paper ballot system were dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Petition’s Contentions

The petition which has been submitted to the Supreme Court asking for a review of its ruling from April 26, which denied the demand for a comprehensive cross-verification of votes cast using electronic voting machines (EVMs) and a voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT). The review petition was submitted by Arun Kumar Agrawal, who had previously filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the matter, and it was presented by lawyer Neha Rathi.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon