Four years after the government told Parliament that it would collect information from the Election Commission about possible discrepancies between the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) tallies during the 2019 elections, a Parliamentary panel this week noted that the reply was yet to be provided, adding that identifying such issues was necessary for the security of the voting process.
In its report on the pending assurances pertaining to the Law and Justice Ministry, which was presented in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the Committee on Government Assurances said an unstarred question regarding “discrepancy in EVM and VVPAT” was asked on June 26, 2019. The government was asked whether any discrepancy between the EVM and VVPAT counts was found in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and if so, what corrective measures had been taken. In the reply, the government gave an assurance that the information was being collected and would be laid on the table of the House.
The Law Ministry informed the committee, which is chaired by BJP MP from Meerut Rajendra Agrawal, that it had asked the EC for the required information on March 12, 2020 and sent reminders on September 3, 2020, February 19, 2021, October 7, 2021, November 26, 2021 and June 3, 2022. “The requisite information from the EC is still awaited,” the ministry said. Giving oral evidence in January this year, the Legislative Department Secretary said the EC had been called, but they could not attend as they were “having discussions with some political parties”. The committee then gave the ministry a month’s extension to fulfil the assurance.
“The Committee note that finding discrepancies between EVMs and VVPAT is a crucial aspect of ensuring the integrity and transparency of the electoral process. The Committee feel that the need for identifying such issues is all the more necessary to ensure the security and reliability of the voting process. EVMs and VVPATs are designed to provide an accurate reflection of voters’ choices…The Committee, however, regret to note that precious little has been done in this direction…The Committee are deeply concerned to note that the requisite information is still awaited from the Election Commission,” the report said.
The committee said the fact that the information was yet to be received by the ministry indicated the lack of coordination.
“The Committee feel that there is an urgent necessity for identifying the discrepancies between the EVMs and VVPAT as it helps in maintaining trust in the electoral process by ensuring that votes are being recorded and counted correctly,” the report said.Most Read 1 Bigg Boss OTT 2 Finale Live Updates: Elvish Yadav is the winner of Salman Khan’s show 2 Happy Independence Day 2023: Wishes Images, Whatsapp Messages, Status, Quotes, and Photos 3 Gadar 2 box office collection Day 3: Sunny Deol film collects a whopping Rs 135 cr in opening weekend, is second highest earner of 2023 4 Bigg Boss OTT 2 finale: Alia Bhatt wanted to hide outside Bigg Boss sets to hug Pooja Bhatt after the show ended, says Mahesh Bhatt 5 Deepika Padukone gives glimpse of her life with Ranveer Singh, says he’s married to someone who ‘can’t relax’
The committee asked the Legislative Department to prioritise the matter and get the requisite information from the Election Commission without further delay. The EC spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the delay and if any discrepancies had been noticed.Advertisement
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections were the first to have 100% use of VVPAT — each EVM had a VVPAT attached to it. After casting the vote, the voter can see a paper slip printed in the VVPAT for a period of seven seconds that displays the name and the symbol of the selected candidate. The slip then drops into a sealed drop box of the VVPAT. As per Supreme Court directions, the EC verifies VVPAT slips in five randomly selected polling stations in each Assembly constituency.Also ReadWatch | Defence College collapses amid heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand’s De...Full text | President Droupadi Murmu’s speech on the eve of 77th Independ...Independence Day 2023 Live: In address to nation on eve of 77th Independe...Dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen militant’s son hoists tricolour in Jammu’s Kish...
In a recent petition in the Supreme Court, the Association for Democratic Reforms asked for directions to the EC to cross verify the count in EVMs with the VVPAT slips. The petition argued that “there is no way for any of the voters to verify that their vote has actually been ‘counted as recorded’ because there is no procedure provided for by the EC for them to match the VVPATs that they had certified as being ‘recorded as cast’ with what is actually counted.” Hearing the petition on July 17, the Supreme Court asked a copy of the petition to be sent to the EC and asked the poll panel to respond to the same.© The Indian Express (P) Ltd