SC dismisses return to “Ballot Paper”; upholds faith in EVM

JNS I New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld its reliance on electronic voting machines (EVMs) for accurate and efficient election results, dismissing pleas to reintroduce paper ballots due to concerns over human interference.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta heard petitions seeking the cross-verification of votes through the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system. The petitions were prompted by arguments from advocate Prashant Bhushan, who pointed out that several European countries had reverted to the paper ballot system after adopting EVMs.

Responding to this, Justice Khanna emphasised the shortcomings of the previous system, stating, “We are in our 60s. We all know what happened when there were ballot papers, you may have, but we have not forgotten.”

During the hearing, Bhushan referenced Germany’s use of ballot papers. Justice Dipankar inquired about Germany’s population, to which Bhushan noted it to be around 6 crore, significantly smaller than India’s 50-60 crore voters.

Justice Datta stressed the need to maintain trust in the electoral process, stating, “My home state West Bengal has more population than Germany. We need to repose some trust and faith in somebody. Do not try to bring down the system like this.”

Justice Khanna also highlighted the scale of the Indian electorate, stating, “97 crore total number of registered voters. We all know what happened when there were ballot papers.”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will continue to hear the matter on Thursday.

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