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Indian top court seeks EC response to oppn plea on EVMs

IANS
New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Election Commission’s response on a plea by 21 opposition parties seeking audit of at least 50 per cent of EVMs with corresponding Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs).
Issuing the notice to the poll panel, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed the election panel to depute an officer to assist the court on the next hearing of the matter on March 25.
“Matter will be heard on March 25, 2019. The Election Commission of India to be served through the Secretary. The competent authority of the Election Commission of India shall depute a suitable officer to assist the Court on the date fixed i.e. March 25, 2019,” the court said in its order.
The plea was filed, among others, by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party, Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Sharad Yadav of the Loktantrik Janata Dal, Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party, Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Conference and MK Stalin of the DMK. In the plea, they urged the court that 50 per cent of results of EVMs must be matched and cross-checked with VVPATs before the declaration of results in the general elections.
Earlier in February, the opposition parties approached the EC to audit at least 50 per cent of EVMs with corresponding VVPATs in all constituencies during the Lok Sabha polls.
The parties had said there are “serious doubts about the credibility of EVMs and the purity of the entire electoral process” and asked the EC to mandate physical countercheck of paper trail and match it with the electronic vote in at least 50 per cent of all EVMs, if not all.
The 21 opposition party leaders had challenged the Election Commission’s decision to verify VVPAT of only one randomly selected booth of a constituency.

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