SC Declines To Hear Petition Regarding VVPAT Verification So Close To Vote Counting In Assembly Elections
The Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear a petition filed regarding verification of VVPAT two days before the day the votes are to be counted in the Assembly Elections of 5 states.
The Bench led by Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana stated that the matter would come up before an appropriate bench on a day after the counting of the votes in the Assembly Elections is done. The counting of votes in the Assembly Elections of five states are to be done tomorrow.
Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora mentioned the matter yesterday morning before the CJI for urgent listing regarding the verification of VVPAT. She had submitted to the court that the verification of VVPAT machines which is done after the procedure of counting of votes is over should be done before the counting begins.
It was submitted by her that, the verification of the VVPAT machines which are done after the votes are counted is pointless, as by that time all the election agents have left which leaves no transparency in the matter, instead the verification should be done before the counting begins when there are election agents and other parties are present.
She had also asked for stricter implementation of the directions passed by the court in the matter of N. Chandrababu Naidu & Ors. Vs. Union of India and Anr. where the Court had directed that the number of booths on which the verification of VVPAT is done to be increased from one to five and it should be done randomly.
The Chief Justice of India observed that, "How can we help? The counting is day after tomorrow. Even if we hear this matter tomorrow can we pass such a direction to the states." The Court asked for the counsel for Election Commission to be present. The Counsel for Election Commission Sr. Adv. Maninder Singh appeared before the Bench and submitted that the directions given by the Apex Court in the 2019 case of N. Chandrababu Naidu are being followed by the Election Commission.
The petition was filed by an RTI Activist Rakesh Kumar in the Supreme Court which sought that the verification of the VVPAT Machines be done before the counting of the votes begins and not at the end of it and that the number of booths from which the VVPAT Machines would be verified be increased. Earlier the top court of the country had increased the number of booths from one to five.