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Elections 2024: Supreme Court Rejects Pleas For Complete EVM-VVPAT Verification

The Court has issued directions to seal and secure Symbol Loading Units, these SLUs must be stored for 45 days.

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Producer :Jaspreet Singh

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta on 26 April, Friday, have dismissed all the pleas seeking complete verification of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with the Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips.

Justice Khanna stated that the requests to revert to ballot paper voting, complete EVM-VVPAT verification, giving VVPAT slips to voters to put them in the ballot box have been rejected and instead issued a few directions.

"We have rejected all the pleas, after referring to the protocol in place, technical aspects and data which is on record," said Justice Khanna.

The two main directions by the Judges are as follows:

  • Court directs that the Symbol Loading Units should also be sealed and secured. The process to be done on or after 1 May 2024.

  • Court also directs that there will be option for candidates to get the microcontroller program of EVMS to be checked by a team of engineers after the declaration of results.

This comes two days after the apex court had reserved its judgement and sought clarity on the microcontroller and the Symbol Loading Units (SLUs).

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Justice Khanna observed, "We have given two directions. One direction is after the completion of symbol loading process, the Symbol Loading Unit should be sealed. The SLU should be stored at least for a period of 45 days," as per Live Law.

The Supreme Court verdict coincides with the phase 2 of the Lok Sabha elections. You can read all the updates and stories here.

These SLUs should be sealed and secured in containers with the sign of the candidates or their representatives.

Justice Khanna added that the burnt memory of the microcontroller or the semicontroller in 5% of the EVMs shall be checked by a team of engineers after the results, as stated above, and such a request has to be made within a week after of the results being declared.

This is for candidates who secure the second or the third position in the results who can make such requests.

The expenses for the verification (of the program) are to be borne by the candidates who make the request and in case the EVM is found to be tampered with, the expenses will be refunded.

"Blindly distrusting a system can lead to unwarranted suspicions," noted Justice Datta. Adding that, "Instead, a critical yet constructive approach guided by evidence and reason should be followed...to ensure the system's credibility and effectiveness."

Moreover, Justice Khanna have also asked the Election Commission of India to examine the suggestion for a electronic machine for vote counting the paper slips and whether, along with the symbol, if there can be a bar code for each party.

On 18 April, the ECI told the Supreme Court no mismatch was detected between the votes counted in teh ECM and VVPAT slips after they verified over 4 crore slips.

The Quint had reported previously how EVM-VVPAT machines are vulnerable to manipulations, as these concerns were also raised by former IAS officer Kannan Gopinath

Earlier, a report published by Manorama Online had cited complaints raised with regards to the mock polls conducted using EVMs in Kerala’s Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency.

However, the ECI rejected the claims stating that they resolved the issue and there was just one extra vote in the mock poll, they noted.

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Producer :Jaspreet Singh
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