Supreme Court notice to poll panel, Centre on plea challenging use of EVMs without paper trail

The Supreme Court has sought reply from the Election Commission and the Centre to the plea by May 8.

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Election Commission and the Centre on implementation of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPATs) with electronic voting machines.

The Supreme Court sought reply from the EC and the Centre by May 8 on the petition filed by Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) challenging use of EVMs without paper trail.

Other individual petitioners have also filed PILs. The Congress and the Trinamool Congress have been allowed to file their intervening applications to be a part of the case.

Arguing the case, senior advocate P Chidambaram told the Supreme Court that it is mandatory to use voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPATs) with the EVMs for elections but the same has not been done widely.

It was further argued that the Chief Election Commissioner has also written to the Prime Minister's Office in 2014 raising security concerns.

Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal briefly addressed the Supreme Court bench led by Justice Chelameswar and said that no where in the world are EVMs used other than India.

The Supreme Court made it clear to the BSP, which is the prime petitioner, that the party may not press for its prayer to cancel the recently conducted Uttar Pradesh Assembly election. BSP agreed that it shall first wait for a response from the Election Commission and the Centre.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter on May 8.

A paper trail machine shows voters a slip with the party symbol for which they have voted, before it is dropped into a sealed box. Voters can, therefore, immediately check if their vote was cast for the desired party.

(with inputs from Anusha Soni)

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