The Election Commission on Wednesday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that most likely the next Gujarat Assembly election, to be held later this year, would be conducted with the help of VVPATs along with EVMs, according to ANI.
The panel also told the court it is likely to procure one lakh machines by the end of August.
The SC was hearing several pleas seeking to include VVPATs along with EVMs in elections. The Court deferred the matter for hearing till Thursday.
On Tuesday, the EC told the court that it will be able to conduct the polls using EVMs with paper trail if it gets 73,500 VVPAT machines by September from the manufacturers.
The poll panel, which maintained that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) cannot be tampered with, told the apex court that around 70,000 Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) units would be required for the Gujarat polls scheduled later this year. It said that around 48,000 units were expected to be delivered by Bharat ElectronicsLtd (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) by August 31 while another 25,500 such units would be delivered by September. “If the said consignment of VVPATs is delivered on time, the Election Commission expects to be able to conduct the elections to the Gujarat legislative assembly completely with the use of VVPATs,” the poll panel told the apex court in its affidavit.
The VVPAT machine is connected with EVMs and dispenses a paper proof for the voters so that they can verify their vote is cast correctly. The ECI further said that currently it was in possession of 53,500 VVPAT units.
“It is pertinent to point out herein that the Election Commission of India (ECI) currently has 53,500 of VVPAT units in its possession and the number of VVPAT units required for conducting election to the Gujarat legislative assembly is 70,000 units.
“The ECI expects to receive the delivery of 48,000 VVPAT units from BEL and ECIL by August 31, 2017 and another 25,500 VVPAT units in September 2017,” the poll panel said.
It, however, said that though there has been a debate over alleged EVM tampering but “no political party or person” was able to demonstrate how these machines could be tampered with during the course of open EVM challenge.
The ECI’s affidavit was filed in pursuance to the apex court’s July 6 directive asking it to file a response on the possibility of using EVMs with VVPATs in the Gujarat polls.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by a Gujarat Patidar leader seeking the use of either ballot paper or EVMs with VVPAT for the assembly elections.
Petitioner Reshma Vithabhai Patel, the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which was in the forefront of the Patel quota agitation, had claimed that the EVMs were not “fully reliable, foolproof, tamper-proof or hacker-proof”.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine