Verification of Lok Sabha election VVPAT slips: Delhi HC directs Election Commission to respond to the representation

Verification of Lok Sabha election VVPAT slips: Delhi HC directs Election Commission to respond to the representation

The Delhi High Court today directed the Election Commission to respond to a representation seeking inspection of records of all printed paper slips of VVPAT electronic devices which were used in the Lok Sabha Election 2019.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in a petition by social worker, Hans Raj Jain seeking inspection of the VVPAT paper trail.

Since, his representation on the issue was still pending with the Election Commission, the Court directed the Commission to respond to it in accordance with law.

The petitioner has sought verification of the VVPAT paper trail on the ground that the right to vote includes right to know or right to verify to whom the vote has really gone to.

Arguing in person, the petitioner has alleged that there was 'great discrepancy' between the number of votes polled on EVMs and number of votes cast in 373 constituencies in the last Lok Sabha Polls.

The petitioner relied on media reports, petitioner has asserted that in Kancheepuram Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu, 12,14,086 votes were polled in EVM but 12,32,417 EVM votes were counted.

The petitioner also cited media reports on recovery of two EVMs and VVPAT from a hotel near a polling booth in Bihar's Muzaffarpur to substantiate his claim.

It was further submitted that in the 2019 election, instead of using a system in which the printer ballot remained in front of the transparent window for five seconds for the voter to verify it, the Election Commission used a black coated window. Therefore, the voters could not see or verify their vote before it fell in a sealed box.

The petitioner has also relied on the Right to Information Act to seek information on issue.

Counsel for Election Commission, Advocate Siddhant Kumar argued that the issue had already been decided by the Supreme Court in April 2019 in N Chanderbabu Nadu vs UOI.

After hearing the parties, the Court disposed of the petition with a direction to the Election Commission to respond to the representation filed by the petitioner on the issue.

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