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Supreme Court:  A bench of Vineet Saran and UU Lalit, JJ has disposed of a petition seeking directions to the Election Commission of India to conduct an independent audit of the source code (software) of EVM, VVPAT and ETS and then register its signature in public domain. The Court asked the petitioner to approach ECI and if the poll body does not do it, then the petitioner is at the liberty to approach the court once again after a period of three weeks.

The petition, which sought an independent audit of the software used in Electronic Voting Machines, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail and EVM Tracking Software, was filed by advocate Sunil Ahya in January 2020. Ahya said that he will soon approach the election commission for the same. The plea said that the source code of EVM, VVPAT  and ETS , all in concert, play a very important role in the scheme of conduct of elections.

“And, if the source code of all these devices were to be subverted in concert, then the process of randomization process would no longer maintain its randomness, rather it will become deterministic and systematic. This would be able to achieve a pre-determined outcome of the election process,”

Earlier, the same plea was filed by the petitioner on December 2018 when former CJI Ranjan Gogoi had sought a reply from Election Commission, following which the poll body had filed a counter affidavit in the matter. However, before the petitioner could seek the permission of the court to file a “rejoinder highlighting the discrepancies in the counter affidavit filed by the ECI”, the matter was closed due to the then imminent General Elections 2019.

(Source: ANI)

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Supreme Court: The Court has rejected the review plea filed by twenty-one Opposition parties seeking a direction to increase VVPAT verification from five to at least 50% of EVMs during counting of votes in the general elections 2019.

The Court was hearing the plea of 21 opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, seeking that VVPAT slips of at least 50 per cent of voting machines in each assembly constituency be checked randomly in the Lok Sabha elections. The leaders from six national and 15 regional parties, claiming to represent 70-75 per cent of the population, have also sought the setting aside of the Election Commission of India (EC) guideline on random verification of one assembly seat.

(More details awaited)

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Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Sanjiv Khanna and Deepak Gupta, JJ has has asked 21 opposition parties to file response over the Election Commission’s affidavit in a case where the Parties sought direction that 50 per cent EVM results should be matched and cross-checked with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) before the declaration of results in the upcoming General Elections. The bench directed the 21 opposition parties (petitioners) to file a rejoinder to the affidavit of the poll panel before April 8.

On Friday, the Election Commission (EC) of India, in an affidavit, told the court that there is no need to increase VVPAT count to match it with EVM. It had said that the existing system is full-proof and more VVPAT  count means 6 days delay in the counting of votes in Lok Sabha election. The court had directed EC to file an affidavit on why physical verification of VVPATs should not be extended to more than one polling station per Assembly segment.

The court is hearing a plea filed by 21 opposition leaders led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, seeking a random count of VVPAT slips of at least 50 per cent EVMs in each Assembly constituency before the declaration of Lok Sabha election results. The petition has challenged the decision of the Commission to check VVPATs of only one randomly selected booth of a constituency. The petitioners have said that this will account only for 0.44 per cent of the votes polled.

(Source: ANI)

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Supreme Court: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the plea of 21 opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, seeking that VVPAT slips of at least 50 per cent of voting machines in each assembly constituency be checked randomly in the Lok Sabha elections. The leaders from six national and 15 regional parties, claiming to represent 70-75 per cent of the population, have also sought the setting aside of the Election Commission of India (EC) guideline on random verification of one assembly seat.

The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Deepak Dupta and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ said that notice be issued to the EC, and the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) should depute an officer to assist the court in the matter.

The parties include the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI (Marxist), CPI, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Loktantrik Janata Dal and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The petition has sought quashing of the EC guideline which provides that random verification of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips shall be conducted in one polling stations in case of assembly election and in each assembly segment in case of Lok Sabha election. It also sought a further direction to the election commission for random verification of at least 50 per cent electronic voting machines (EVM) using the VVPAT per assembly segment/ assembly constituency.

The Court will next hear the matter on March 25, 2019.

(Source: PTI)