Congress to file fresh plea for counting of VVPAT slips in Gujarat
A fresh and comprehensive petition would be filed by the Congress after the Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking counting of at least 20 per cent of the paper trail slips manually along with the votes cast in EVMs in each constituency in Gujarat.
"We are very shortly going to represent and then file a fresh comprehensive petition," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.
The Congress will remain at the forefront of creating awareness about what is the basic structure of our Constitution, namely free and fair elections ... Free and fair elections have been held to be part of our democracy," he said.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud permitted petitioner Mohammad Arif Rajput, a Gujarat Congress leader, to withdraw his plea but granted liberty to file a comprehensive petition later seeking election reforms.
"There was a very sympathetic and very elaborate hearing by the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the apex court gave us full liberty to withdraw the petition and equally in the order, reflected full liberty to file a fresh petition," he said.
Singhvi said the party would first represent to the Election Commission, seeking a comparison of the electronic result and the paper trail result.
"A comprehensive fresh petition, raising all issues relating to EVMs and VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) will be filed soon," he said.
Earlier in the day, senior advocate Singhvi, appearing for Rajput, said the counting of the slips of the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines along with the votes cast in the electronic voting machines (EVM) count in at least 20 per cent of the booths of each constituency would reassure the people about the fairness of the polls.
"This court can't interfere unless the Election Commission's decision for a random check of the EVM-VVPAT paper trail in one booth per constituency is proved arbitrary, illegal or malafide. We cannot discredit the Election Commission's decision without cogent material," it said.