When can you fully implement VVPAT? Supreme Court asks ECI


New Delhi: Hearing a contempt on Monday 2-January, petition filed by Backward and Minorities Communities Employees Federation, BAMCEF against the Election commission of India for not implementing Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along with EVM machines, Supreme Court asked ECI as to when they are able to fully implement the court orders?

Council for ECI mentioned before the court that they have placed an order for 60 thousand VVPAT machines which are expected to be delivered soon. According to the advocate for petitioner Mr. Manoj Prasad, the ECI did not have a ready answer as to when the ECI can implement VVPAT across India; hence the Court has given them eight weeks to file the reply.

Talking to www.CriticBrain.com , Pititioner Waman Meshram said that he has sent several reminders ever since the court has directed ECI to implement VVPAT system along with the EVM machines but the ECI never responded. “But today, ECI wants to argue in the court about my ‘attitude’ in writing several letters to ECI despite the fact that they did not even bother to respond till we filed contempt”. “I don’t think ECI will implement VVPAT in the upcoming UP or Panjab elections, hence we pray to the honorable court to direct ECI to use ballot paper instead” he added.

 When asked if all previous elections held on EVM machines were tampered, he said “the world knows that the EVM’s are prone to be tampered. However, I refuse to talk about previous elections. What we want is to safeguard the interest of people, conduct Free, Fair and Transparent elections”. “With EVMs there is no guarantee to the voter that his vote is rightly casted and there is no way to recount individual vote in case of a dispute. If I’m not assured of my vote rightly casted, there is no point in voting” he said.

On 8-Oct-2013, Supreme court passed an order stating “From the materials placed by both the sides, we are satisfied that the “paper trail” is an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections. The confidence of the voters in the EVMs can be achieved only with the introduction of the “paper trail”. EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system. With intent to have fullest transparency in the system and to restore the confidence of the voters, it is necessary to set up EVMs with VVPAT system because vote is nothing but an act of expression which has immense importance in democratic system. “

However, as on date of this order, Supreme Court noted that the ECI has to handle 10 lakh polling booths in the 20114 general elections, hence given liberty to implement VVPAT in a phased manner. Petitioner argues that now the ECI now the context of handling 10 lakh booths is over, hence the VVPAT should be implemented in 100% booths, otherwise ballot papers shall be implemented.