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EVMs & VVPATs Stuck, Need Them for Upcoming Polls: EC Tells SC

The EC's plea read that all EVMs and VVPATs are currently blocked and cannot be used in future upcoming elections.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Election Commission urged the Supreme Court to hear plea on EVMs and VVPAT machines being preserved.</p><p>Image for representation purpose.</p></div>
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The Election Commission on Wednesday, 1 September, urged the Supreme Court to grant urgent hearing on its plea alleging EVMs and VVPAT machines used in polls of six states are currently stuck and cannot be used for future elections.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the poll panel, submitted a large number of EVMs and VVPAT machines are still being preserved and need to be released.

Submitting that they are preserved due to an order extending the limitation period for filing pleas, which includes election petitions, the poll body sought that a timeline be fixed for filing election petitions in connection with polls held in Assam, Kerala, Delhi, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.

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"We have to maintain these EVMs and VVPAT machines and hearing is necessary as elections in states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Punjab are coming up," Singh said.

At this, a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Surya Kant and AS Bopanna, said: "Alright, we will fix it next week."

The top court on 27 April, taking into account the onset of second COVID wave, had relaxed the statutory period for filing petitions, including the election petitions, under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

"As a result of the aforementioned statutory provisions/rules, the relevant instructions issued by the Election Commission of India and the Order dated 27 April 2021 passed by this Hon'ble Court, the Election Commission of India is unable to use a substantial number of EVMs," said the EC's plea.

The plea further added that it is a cause for concern as the poll body is scheduled to conduct Assembly elections in states like Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh next year.

"All the EVMs and VVPATs belonging to the Election Commission of India that were used in recently held Assembly Elections are blocked and cannot be used in future/upcoming elections," it said.

The poll body gave the numbers of EVMs and VVPAT machines used in these Assembly polls in six states.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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