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Supreme Court setback for 21 Opposition parties

It was a major setback for 21 Opposition parties. The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, to review its judgment rejecting 50% random physical verification of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) using Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). The Opposition wanted to increase the number to at least 25%.

BJP has termed this as an admission of defeat.

The apex court had on April 8 directed the Election Commission to increase random matching of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in five polling booths per assembly segment but it had not agreed to the demand of Opposition leaders for counting of at least 50 percent of VVPAT slips with EVMs in every assembly segment.

Meanwhile, the Opposition once again met ECI in the evening.

VVPAT was started to ensure transparency in elections. Nagaland was the first state to use the high-tech voter recording VVPAT and Now it is being used on all seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.


VVPAT Case: Timeline

March 14, 2019: 21 opposition parties files plea in SC for VVPAT verification

March 15, 2019: SC issues notice to EC on plea filed by 21 opposition parties for VVPAT verification

March 25, 2019: SC asks EC to consider increasing number of rechecks of EVM counts with VVPATs in upcoming elections to satisfy all stakeholders

March 29, 2019:  EC tells SC that Opposition leaders unable to raise any ground for altering  existing system of random counting of VVPAT slips 

April 1, 2019: SC adjourns a plea by 21 Opposition parties seeking 50 percent VVPAT count to 8 April, to enable petitioner to file a reply to the Election Commission’s affidavit

April 8, 2019: SC directs ECI to increase physical counting of VVPAT slips to five random EVMs in each Assembly segment/constituency

April 24, 2019: 21 opposition parties file a review petition, seek 50% of EVM’s be verified using VVPAT slips

May 7, 2019: SC rejects a plea by 21 opposition parties asking for counting of at least 25% EVM paper trail machines – instead of only five – in every assembly segment.


Electronic Voting Machine: Timeline 

1989: The Parliament amended the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to create a provision for the use of EVMs in the elections (chapter 3)

1998: A general consensus on its introduction could be reached only in 1998 and these were used in 25 Legislative Assembly constituencies spread across three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi

1999: Its use was further expanded to 45 Parliamentary Constituencies 

2000: Later, in February, to 45 Assembly Constituencies of the Haryana Assembly elections 

2001: In the State Assembly elections, held in May, in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry and West Bengal, the EVMs were used in all the Assembly Constituencies

2004: in the General Election to the Lok Sabha, the EVMs (more than one million) were used in all 543 Parliamentary Constituencies in the country.

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