Supreme Court Directed Election Commission to Install VVPAT System in EVMs for 2014 Polls

Supreme Court on 8 October 2013 directed EC to introduce Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system in EVMs for the next general elections in 2014.

The Supreme Court of India on 8 October 2013 directed the Election Commission of India to introduce Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system in EVMs in phased manner for the next general elections in 2014.

The Supreme Court also directed the Centre to provide financial assistance for introducing Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system. The Supreme Court bench also stated that VVPAT in EVMs will ensure free and fair polls and will help in sorting out disputes.

The poll panel had also informed the SC bench that VVPAT can be introduced in a phased manner and cited administrative and financial reasons for it.  It had stated 13 lakh VVPAT machines would be needed for general elections.

The Election Commission had stated approximately 1500 crore Rupees would be required for procuring VVPAT and installing it at all polling booths across the country for 2014 Lok Sabha polls and there are only two state-owned companies Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL)  which manufacture the machines.

The Election Commission had earlier informed the court that VVPAT was successfully and satisfactorily utilised at 21 polling stations in Nagaland during the Assembly elections in February 2013.

The Supreme Court's order came on a plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction to the Election Commission to ensure EVMs have a paper trail and issue a receipt to each voter.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail System (VVPAT)

• The VVPAT system is a new initiative of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections.
• The VVPT will enable electors to see a printout of their ballot -displaying the name, election symbol and serial number of the chosen candidate. However the voter cannot take the printout home.
• In case there is a dispute about the voting and a petition is filed, the votes can be tallied electronically and physically with the ballot slips that fall into the compartment.
• The cost of each VVPAT, manufactured by Bharat Electronic Ltd and Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL) is estimated at about 12000 rupees.
• At present, EVMs are used for voting and counting is based on the results in the machines. In comparison the VVPAT will print a voter’s selection, thus also allowing for physically verification of the vote.

Election Commission of India with an objective of free and fair polls, the VVPAT System is introduced. This new voting system is a step towards winning the public trust in election process.

VVPAT system will also help to resolve the election disputes by providing physical verification of the votes in EVMs.

EC would take the decision depending on feedback from the by-polls of Nagaland and it will expand the VVPAT System in a graded and phased manner throughout the country. For introducing VVPAT systems throughout the country would cost around 2000 to 3000 crore rupees.

Election Commission of India

Under article 324, the Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.

Election Commission of India is a permanent Constitutional Body. The Election Commission was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25 January 1950.

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