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  India   All India  25 Apr 2024  We cannot control elections: SC

We cannot control elections: SC

Published : Apr 25, 2024, 1:11 am IST
Updated : Apr 25, 2024, 1:11 am IST

On April 18, the top court reserved its verdict on the batch of pleas

Supreme Court (ANI)
 Supreme Court (ANI)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking complete cross-verification of votes cast through Electronic Voting Machines with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail after taking note of answers to its queries from the Election Commission.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta sought answers from an official of the poll panel to five questions related to the functioning of the EVMs, including whether the microcontrollers fitted in them are reprogrammable.

Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Nitesh Kumar Vyas, who had earlier made a presentation to the court on the functioning of EVMs, was summoned by the bench at 2 pm to answer the queries.

The bench had said it needs clarification on certain aspects as there was some confusion over the answers given by the EC to “frequently asked questions” about EVMs. “We have some doubts and need clarification and that’s why we have listed the matter for directions,” the bench said. The top court said, “We don’t want to be factually wrong but doubly sure in our findings.”

It flagged some points on which the court wanted clarification which relates to storage of EVMs, microchip in the controlling unit of EVMs and other aspects.

After the clarifications from Vyas, the bench reserved its judgment again and told Advocate Prashant Bhushan that, “We cannot control the elections. Bhushan, we cannot control another constitutional authority.”

To this, Bhushan said, “I am on increasing VVPAT paper trails.”

Justice Datta said, “Out of the five per cent VVPATs counted, any candidate can show if there is any mismatch. Can we issue a mandamus on the basis of suspicion?

“If there is something to improve, we can certainly improve. Courts intervened twice. Once, when we said VVPAT should be mandatory. Second time, when we increased from one to five (randomly selected polling booths per Assembly constituency for the purpose of counting VVPAT trails). This is not a rehearing but only for clearing out doubts,” Justice Khanna said.

The poll panel official clarified that all three units —ballot units, VVPAT and the chip — have their own micro controllers. These micro controllers are housed in secured unauthorised access detection modules and it cannot be accessed.

All the micro controllers are one time programmable. It is burned when inserted and cannot be changed. After the counting, all machines are stored for 45 days, on 46th day, we write to the respective high court registrar and on receiving response, we then do the needful, Vyas told the bench.

The control unit stores the polling data so it is sealed. During commissioning, all three units are also sealed with a pink seal. VVPAT is also sealed and signature is taken from all polling agents. On April 18, the top court reserved its verdict on the batch of pleas.


Tags: supreme court of india, evm, vvpat
Location: India, Delhi