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Supreme Court junks Opposition's review plea seeking to increase VVPAT verification to 50%, says 'not inclined to modify order'

In a setback to 21 Opposition parties, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the review petition seeking a direction to increase the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) verification from five to at least 50 percent of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the counting of votes in the ongoing general elections. The top court ruled out any increase in the VVPAT-EVM verification.

"We are not inclined to modify our order," says SC while dismissing review plea on random matching of VVPAT slips.

The petition was filed by 21 Opposition leaders, who demanded the matching of at least 50 percent of the VVPAT slips with the EVMs in every Assembly segment.

The counsel of the Opposition leaders, Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that they had "grave and serious" concerns regarding the VVPAT-EVM verification. He expressed gratitude to the court to increase the VVPAT verification from one to five.

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"The principle point of the review petition was that there is no 'meaningful' implementation of the order, which is a 'mere' two percent," said Singhvi, adding "We want the verification increased to 33 percent, or worse come to worst, 25 percent."

Singhvi said that the Election Commission has no guidelines regarding the VVPAT-EVM verification, and that if the court would not issue guidelines to the poll watchdog, the court's order would be impractical to implement.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and CPI leader D Raja were among those present in the court during hearing, Live Law reported.

Earlier, the EC had argued that matching the VVPAT slips would hold up the announcement of election results by at least six days.

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Updated Date: May 07, 2019 12:01:45 IST