The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved judgment on a batch of petitions seeking 100 per cent cross-verification of vote count in electronic voting machines (EVMs) with voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) paper slips as it reiterated its stance that it lacks authority over the conduct of elections, which falls under the purview of another constitutional body.

It reserved its 18 April verdict on the matter, a day before the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Two days before the second phase of voting on 26 April, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta opposed suggestions about revealing the source code of the EVMs. “It should not be disclosed. It will be misused,” said the bench as reported by The Indian Express. The source code refers to a set of instructions coded into the machine that tells it how to function.

In the last hearing on 18 April, the Election Commission of India answered the court’s queries on EVMs and VVPATs, delving into their functioning. The poll panel informed the court that the manufacturer of the EVMs does not know which button is going to be allotted to which political party or which machine is going to be allotted to which state or constituency.

On 16 April, the bench dismissed the petitioner’s idea of returning to the ballot papers, reminding that it had not forgotten what used to happen when ballot papers were used to cast votes.

The VVPAT machine is attached to the ballot unit of the EVM and provides visual verification for a voter’s vote by printing a slip of paper with the voter’s choice on it. This is later used to verify votes cast in five randomly selected polling booths. The petitioners has been demanding that 100 per cent of VVPAT slips be cross-checked with the EVM votes.

MTNews Desk

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