New Delhi: The Election
Commission Thursday told the Supreme Court that it has convened an
all-party meet May 10 to demonstrate the voters verifiable paper
audit trail (VVPAT) in the EVMs and evolve consensus on its
The commission has called a meeting of all the recognized national
and state political parties to demonstrate the VVPAT unit and hold
discussions for eliciting their views, senior counsel Ashok Desai
told a bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
In the EVM with VVPAT, a printer is completely sealed and
inaccessible to the voter. It will have a window on its front side
that would display the vote exercised by the voter for him to
verify his vote. Thereafter, it gets cut and automatically falls
into a sealed box.
Desai told the court that commission would moved ahead after a
consensus is evolved at the all-party meeting. He said the
introduction of VVPAT would depend on the outcome of the all-party
The commission told the court that it would require 13 lakh VVPAT
units to be manufactured for 13 lakhs EVMs at an approximate cost
of Rs.1,690 crore.
"Now we are happy that it has actually materialized," Justice
Sathasivam said, while perusing the Election Commission affidavit
giving details of steps it had already taken and will take in
future after May 10 all party meet.
"The next step is when we are going to implement them," he said.
The EC affidavit said that for implementing the new system, the
Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, would require certain amendments.
Appearing for the central government, Attorney General
G.E.Vahanvati told the court that the law and justice ministry was
looking into the suggested amendments.
If EC decides to go ahead with the introduction of VVPAT, then the
allocation had to be made and parliament would take a call on it,
Vahanvati said. He said that the financial allocation had to be
approved by parliament.
He told the court that as far as government was concerned the
introduction of VVPAT was entirely between the Election Commission
and all other stake holders.
As court adjourned the hearing till August 22, Janata Party chief
Subramanian Swamy, who had moved the court for the introduction of
VVPAT, said: "If for some unforeseeable reason, they (the poll
panel) are not able to put in place remedial steps, I may have the
right to came back and seek return to old ballot paper system."
Swamy had moved the apex court seeking the EVMs with print out
facility so that in case of a dispute on the outcome of the
election, the same could be verified by the print out of the vote
cast through EVMs. He had contended that the recording of the
votes on the print out was necessary because EVMs were not tamper
Each VVPAT unit that would cost Rs. 13,000/- has been produced by
the Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of
India Limited (ECIL).