SC rejects Congress plea for 20% vote count via VVPAT in Gujarat

SC rejects Congress plea for 20 per cent vote count via VVPAT

SC rejects Congress plea for 20 per cent vote count via VVPAT

The counsel replied that he was a secretary of the main opposition party, the Congress, in Gujarat.

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea of the Gujarat Congress, seeking counting of at least 20% of paper trail slips manually besides the electronic votes cast in EVMs in each constituency of the state.

"There was a very sympathetic and very elaborate hearing by the Supreme Court".

Alarmed by all exit polls predicting a massive victory for the BJP in Gujarat, the Congress had earlier in the day urged the apex court to direct the Election Commission to count and cross verify the paper trail votes with EVM votes. He said that the Congress party will continue to fight for free and fair elections, which form the foundation of a free and democratic country.

Gujarat followed Himachal and Goa to use VVPAT, attached to the EVM, for dispensing a paper proof for the voters so that they can verify if their vote is cast correctly.

An unimpressed bench noted that the petition had been moved at the eleventh hour, and said any such directions would be improper midway during the polling process. The slip is taken in custody by the polling officers.

"On the one hand, the Election Commission has rightly recognized that the apprehension that EVMs require that there should be some percentage sample of EVMs where the paper trail is matched with the electronic results", he said. He added that the subject was one that could be debated and allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plea and asked him to file a fresh petition that will take up the issue of electoral reforms.

"The question is not how many seats I get, but this will be a reassurance", he said, referring to complaints of EVM tampering.

"We can exercise our judicial power only after concluding that the Election Commission has exercised its power arbitrarily".

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