New Delhi, Oct. 8: Next time you vote, look at a slip confirming your choice and go back home reassured.
The Supreme Court today asked the Election Commission to introduce a “paper trail” in EVMs in a phased manner from next year’s Lok Sabha elections, saying “it is an indispensable requirement of free, fair and transparent” polls.
The order for a Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) comes less than a fortnight after the court ruled that voters had the right to reject all candidates in a contest under a non of the above (Nota) option that will debut in the state polls this winter.
Today, the court said a paper trail will “ensure accuracy and help in “manual counting of votes in case of disputes”. It directed the Centre to provide the EC funds, around Rs 1,700cr, to meet the extra expenses.
Under the mechanism, a small printout will come out of EVMs after the ballot is cast and slide back into the machine after a few seconds. It will also help voters find out if the machine is rigged.
“To have (the) fullest transparency and restore the confidence of voters, it is necessary to set up EVMs with VVPAT system because vote is nothing but an act of expression,” a bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
The court upheld an appeal by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and an activist against a Delhi High Court order rejecting their plea for such a system. The poll panel, a little reluctant initially, agreed after test runs in some Nagaland booths under the supervision of a committee of experts.