Con­sider rep­re­sen­ta­tion on VVPAT ma­chines: SC to EC

The Free Press Journal - - NATION -

The Supreme Court on Mon­day di­rected the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia (ECI) to con­sider a rep­re­sen­ta­tion seek­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tion in the voter-ver­i­fied pa­per au­dit trail (VVPAT) ma­chines to en­able an elec­tor to can­cel his vote if it has wrongly been cast in favour of a can­di­date.

The VVPAT sys­tem was in­tro­duced in eight out of the 543 par­lia­men­tary con­stituen­cies as a pilot project dur­ing the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

A plea by an en­gi­neer on Mon­day came up for hear­ing be­fore a bench headed by Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra al­leg­ing that the ma­chines were not "er­ror free" and there should be a sys­tem to stop cast­ing of votes if they went in favour of can­di­dates to whom the electors did not in­tend to vote.

The bench, also com­pris­ing Jus­tices A M Khan­wilkar and DY Chan­drachud, re­fused to en­ter­tain the plea and di­rected the pe­ti­tioner to make a rep­re­sen­ta­tion be­fore the ECI with his pe­ti­tion that al­leged that the VVPAT ma­chines were not er­ror proof.

“Hav­ing heard the pe­ti­tioner ap­pear­ing in per­son, we are only in­clined to grant lib­erty to him to sub­mit a rep­re­sen­ta­tion to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia – the sole re­spon­dent – in re­spect of prayer (on VVPAT mal­func­tion­ing) only. With the afore­said lib­erty, the writ pe­ti­tion stands dis­posed of,” the bench said while deal­ing with the plea filed by Arun Kumar, an en­gi­neer by pro­fes­sion.

The pe­ti­tion had sought a di­rec­tion to the ECI to "mod­ify the VVPAT ma­chines so that there is ad­e­quate fa­cil­ity avail­able to stop wrong vot­ing, if the same is de­tected by the voter in the VVPAT ma­chines."

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