The Delhi High Court has asked the state election commission as to why EVMs with VVPAT cannot be used for the upcoming elections of municipal corporations of Delhi (MCD).

Justice Rekha Palli asked the counsel for the State Election Commission to take instructions on the issue and listed the matter for further hearing on March 22.

The High Court was hearing a petition by the Aam Aadmi Party, filed through MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, seeking direction to the State Election Commission of Delhi to conduct the upcoming MCD polls with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) which are compatible with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and not without them.

The party, represented through Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra and lawyer Rakesh Kumar Sinha, said the EVMs without VVPAT machines make it almost impossible to ascertain the accuracy of the machines and to rule out any tampering.

The use of the old M-2 EVMs without VVPAT is in contravention of the express directions issued by the Supreme Court in Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India, (2013), para-29, which emphatically recognised that the incorporation and implementation of a system of paper trail in EVMs is an indispensable requirement of a free and fair elections, the plea said.

It alleged that the decision of the state election commission to hold the MCD Elections 2022 with M-2 EVMs without VVPAT is manifestly wrong and amounts to a colourable exercise of power.

"This raises genuine apprehension about the sanctity of the entire electoral process," it said, adding that this decision has been conveyed in the reply to the party's March 2, 2022 representation made to the authorities to use the EVMs compatible with the VVPATs.

As such the respondent no. 1 (state election commission) has apparently violated the constitutional guarantee of elections being free, fair, and impartial, it alleged.

With PTI inputs