Supreme Court junks plea against Delhi High Court verdict rejecting fresh First Level Checking of EVM, VVPAT

The Court noted that the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chose not to participate in the FLC, while other political parties actively took part.
Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain an appeal against the Delhi High Court judgment which dismissed a plea seeking directions to reconvene the First Level Checking (FLC) of EVMs and VVPATs in all 11 districts of the national capital for next year's Lok Sabha elections.

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) President Anil Kumar on Monday withdrew his plea against verdict.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra noted that the DPCC chose not to participate in the FLC, while other political parties actively took part.

"DPCC stayed away from the proceedings, all other political parties participated. now interfering in this would delay the entire election schedule," CJI Chandrachud said.

The Delhi High Court had dismissed Kumar's plea on September 1.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula had said that that Election Commission of India (ECI) operates on strict timelines and any alterations like re-initiation of the FLC process would be a significant regression.

The Court had also rejected the petitioner's argument that serial numbers of EVMs should be provided to the representatives of the political parties before inspection.

Before the Supreme Court, the petitioner argued that only the Delhi Congress had come forward during the FLC process.

"When EVM machines are dispatched from the warehouse of concerned DM, they prepare list of unique identity of each machines. What happens on the way no one knows, and it is received in Delhi warehouse and there is no tally on numbers sent and ones they recieve. They want us to accept that all machines are in the FLC halls," he said.

The CJI said that the High Court had examined the procedure and that the involvement of political parties was just one step in the process. He emphasized that the absence of some parties did not mean the entire process should come to a halt.

The petitioner clarified that his intention was not to challenge the process after it had concluded. However, the Chief Justice reiterated the comprehensive nature of the electoral process and the widespread faith that political parties had in the EVM system throughout India.

"Sorry, the process is very detailed, parties have faith in EVM and it is replicated all across India," he said.

Accordingly, the petitioner withdrew the plea.

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