SC seeks poll panel response on vote machines with print

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Election Commission to file an affidavit on steps taken for introducing electronic voting machines (EVMs) with a facility that records in print each vote that is cast.

The facility has EVMs coupled with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail System (EVM with VVPAT) for recording in print the vote cast by the voter through EVM.

The apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the commission’s senior counsel Ashok Desai to file an affidavit giving details of what had been done for the introduction of EVMs with VVPAT facility.

The court asked Desai that the copy of the affidavit be served on petitioner Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy and the government.

In the EVM with VVPAT, the printer is completely sealed and inaccessible to the voter. It has a window on its front side that would show the vote exercised by the voter for him to verify.

Thereafter, the printed paper gets cut from a roll and automatically falls into a sealed box. The EVM with VVPAT has been produced by the Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited.

The court noted that though the government was a party to the proceedings, none of its counsel was representing it in the proceedings.

Desai told the court that the field trials of the machines had been completed and only some fine tuning was left to be done.

He told the court that the EVMS attached with VVPAT system would be demonstrated at an all-party meeting intended to be called after the Karnataka assembly elections next month.

The court was told that the Election Commission would require 13 lakh voting machines with printers and this would cost the exchequer Rs.1,690 crore.

Swamy moved court contending that the recording of the votes in print was necessary as the EVMs were not tamper-proof.

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