SC rejects Guj Cong leader plea for paper trail

Cheryl Sanders
December 16, 2017

In a big blow to the Congress, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the party's plea seeking directions to the Election Commission to count and cross verify at least 25 per cent of VVPAT paper trail with the corresponding EVM votes.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Mishsra, Justice Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud said that they cannot substitute the decision of the Election Commission unless Congress demonstrates that the poll body's decision is either arbitrary or not in accordance with the law.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud permitted petitioner Mohammad Arif Rajput, a Gujarat Congress leader, to withdraw his plea but granted liberty to file a comprehensive petition seeking election reforms later.

Direct EC to verify 25 per cent of Gujarat votes with VVPAT slips, Congress prayed to SC.

"There was a very sympathetic and very elaborate hearing by the Supreme Court".

"A comprehensive fresh petition, raising all issues relating to EVMs and VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) will be filed soon", he said.

Singhvi said the party would first represent to the Election Commission, seeking a comparison of the electronic result and the paper trail result.

This comes a day after the Congress launched an unprecedented attack on the Election Commission, accusing it of being a "puppet" of the Prime Minister's Office.

Singhvi said, "I am an officer bearer of the party in the state".

In August this year, the EC had informed the Supreme Court that it would be able to use EVMs with paper trail in Gujarat Assembly polls.

"It is because of our campaign that the government was forced to assure that they would release Rs 3,000-4,000 crore required for having a VVPAT with every machine". In its order, the apex court had allowed a fresh petition related to EVMs and VVPATs, he added.

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