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VVPAT slips: SC gives week’s time to 21 parties to reply to EC

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New Delhi, April 01: The Supreme Court on Monday granted a week's time to 21 Opposition parties to file their reply to the Election Commission's affidavit on counting of VVPAT slips.

The opposition parties have filed a petition in the SC seeking that Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips of at least 50 per cent of voting machines in each assembly constituency be checked randomly in the Lok Sabha polls.

VVPAT slips: SC gives week’s time to 21 parties to reply to EC

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for opposition leaders, to file the reply by April 8, that is on the next Monday.

Current method of counting votes most suitable says Election Commission

In its affidavit to the court, the Election Commission has stated that the Lok Sabha Election results would be delayed by six whole days if the Opposition parties' demand is met.

Further, the poll panel said the petition by them does not raise any new or different apprehension or grievance as was raised in the earlier cases, nor brings out any grave or serious reason requiring a revamping of the system that has been adopted for the purpose of the conduct of the 2019 elections.

"It is further submitted that when the polls are imminent and polling is to commence from April 11, 2019, to now seek to alter the system adopted by the Election Commission of India at this stage might not be feasible," the affidavit said.

In addition, the poll panel, which opposed the petition of 21 opposition leaders, said 50 per cent VVPAT slip verification in each assembly segment of a Parliamentary Constituency or Assembly Constituency on an average shall enlarge the time required for counting to about six days.

What is VVPAT? How does it work?

"It is also relevant to mention that in many Assembly Constituencies, there are more than 400 polling stations, which will require about 8-9 days to complete the VVPAT slip count. It is pertinent to mention that demands for re-count that routinely arise of the VVPAT slips themselves, which will compound the time requirement," the affidavit said.

Lok Sabha Elections in the country are scheduled to be held in seven phases from April 11, 2019, to May 19, 2019. The counting of votes for all phases will take place on May 23 and results will also be declared on the same day.

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