SC refuses Cong plea for counting of VVPAT slips in Guj

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Congress had asked the apex court to direct the ElectionCommission to count and cross verify at least 25% of VVPAT paper trail with EVM votes.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Mishsra, Justice Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud said that they cannot substitute the decision of the Election Commission unless Congress demonstrates that the poll body's decision is either arbitrary or not in accordance with the law.

The Election Commission, if it chooses to, can then tally the slips from a particular Electronic Voting Machine's (EVM's) compartment and tally the paper records with the votes cast in the machine.

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Senior Congress leaders and lawyers Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal represented the Congress at the court.

"It would be reassuring for the voters if such a check is increased to at least to 20% of the booths in each constituency", he pleaded.

Jai Hind!."The Election Commission had to replace almost 900 EVMs in the first phase of Gujarat assembly polls.The counting for Gujarat elections will take place on 18 December". All other countries in the world, except India and South Africa, had stopped using EVMs, he said. He said that the Congress party will continue to fight for free and fair elections, which form the foundation of a free and democratic country.

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The bench told Singhvi that his client had approached it in his personal capacity and he should have let the party take a bold stand and approach the court. Singhvi, for his part, submitted that he was a member of Congress party.

The apex court, however, turned down the plea, refusing to interefere in the Gujart election.

On this, Singhvi submitted that the court should consider issuing counting of paper trail at a minimum 10% of the polling booths.

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The petition was filed by Secretary Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee. It, however, granted liberty to him to file a comprehensive petition on electoral reforms pertaining to VVPAT.

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