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EC REJECTS VVPT DEMAND

SC dismissed plea seeking a review of the order directing EC to increase random matching to 5 polling booths per assembly segment
We are not inclined to modify our order, says a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi
Supreme Court’s direction came on a review plea by leaders of 21 opposition parties
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a review plea filed by 21 opposition parties seeking an increase in random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the Supreme Court was not inclined to interfere. “We are not inclined to modify our order. [For] how many days will we hear the same matter,” the Supreme Court bench said while dismissing review plea on random matching of VVPAT slips.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for petitioners, told the bench that the apex court had increased the random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per assembly segment and they are now seeking that it should be increased to 25 per cent at least.

“It will be for the satisfaction of confidence building measures,” Singhvi told the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.

Singhvi said the present increase of random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per assembly segment amounted to a meagre two per cent and petitioners are seeking that it be raised to 25 per cent at least.

“Unfortunately our plea has not been accepted today. We have pointed out lacunae in EC approach. But there aren’t guidelines on what they will do if they find defects,” senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said on Tuesday.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked, “What will they do if the samples show defects?”

On April 8, the Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs in five polling booths per assembly segment from one booth.

The Supreme Court had observed that increase in VVPAT verification “would be of greater satisfaction not only of political parties but also for the entire electorate”. The bench had said it was not questioning the accuracy of election results, but the issue was of satisfaction of the electorate.

Opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, however, had sought the review of the Supreme Court order, saying the increase from one to five is not a reasonable number and does not lead to satisfaction desired by this court.

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