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Supreme Court directs Election Commission to introduce paper trail

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 08, 2013
First Published: 22:08 IST(8/10/2013) | Last Updated: 09:45 IST(9/10/2013)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Election Commission of India to introduce paper trial in EVMs phase-wise in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said the provision of paper trail would be an “indispensable requirement of free, fair and transparent" polls which will restore confidence of the voters.” It said if EC felt the introduction could even be geographical-wise.
 
The bench asked the Election Commission to introduce VVPAT in EVMs in gradual stages or geographical-wise in the 2014 general elections.
 
“The 'paper trail' is an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections. The confidence of voters in the EVMs can be achieved only with introduction of the paper trail,” it said.
 
Ordering the Centre to provide financial assistance to the EC for introduction of Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system with the EVMs, the court noted the same would “ensure the accuracy of the voting system” and also help in “manual counting of votes in case of dispute.”
 
In an affidavit before SC, EC said phased-wise implementation of paper trail it would require 20,000 units of VVPAT costing Rs. 38.01 crore.
 
VVPAT is a system of printing paper trail when the voter casts his vote, in addition to the electronic record of the ballot, for the purpose of verification of his choice of candidate and also for manual counting of votes in case of dispute.
 
The court said: “EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system. With anintent to have fullest transparency in the system and to restore the confidence of the voters, it is necessary to set up EVMs with VVPAT system because vote is nothing but an act of expression which has immense importance in democratic system.”

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