Opposition Moves SC Over 50% VVPAT Count

Twenty one politicians led by Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu have moved the Supreme Court in order to seek direction to the Election Commission to count VVPAT slips of at least 50% of EVMs in the Lok Sabha polls 2019 

Though these politicians have not been able to stitch a coalition ahead of the polls, it appears they have been brought together by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi for a joint push.

A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi will hear the petition on Friday. 

The petition said these parties, despite their differences, were unanimous and had come before the SC to seek free and fair elections. 

The other petitioners are Sharad Pawar (NCP), K C Venugopal (Congress), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Sharad Yadav (Loktantrik Janata Dal), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), M K Stalin (DMK), T K Rangarajan (CPM), S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD), Arvind Kejriwal (AAP chief), Farooq Abdullah (NC), K Danish Ali (JDS), Ajit Singh (RLD), M Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF), Jitan Ram Manjhi (Hindustani Awam Morcha), Ashok Kumar Singh (JVM), Khorrum Anis Omer (Indian Union Muslim League), K G Kenye (Naga Peoples Front) and Prof Kodandaram (Telangana Jana Samiti).

They challenged the EC’s guidelines which make it mandatory for counting of VVPATs from only one random polling station per assembly constituency. “This translates to an actual check on less than 0.44% of EVMs in the country,” they said. Interestingly, the politicians cited the SC’s 2017 judgment in BJP’s Subramanian Swamy’s petition, in which the EC was directed to attach VVPAT with 100% of EVMs. 

The petitioners said the EC guidelines defeated the entire purpose of introducing VVPAT. For some months, EVMs have been at the centre of a controversy with Congress leading the opposition’s assault on their integrity and tamper-proof quality. The petitioners claimed their parties together represented 75% of India’s population. Interestingly, while other parties were represented by their top leaders, Congress decided to field K C Venugopal.