Oppn quotes 2013 order, says SC in favour of paper trail machines

New Delhi [India], Apr. 13 : Quoting the Supreme Court's 2013 judgement upholding paper trail machines as indispensable for fair and transparent elections, the counsels appearing on behalf of the opposition parties on Thursday said the apex court has issued notice to the Election Commission, adding this matter will be next heard on May 8.

Counsel Satish Chandra Mishra, appearing for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and Congress lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said despite the apex court's directions, only 58,000 paper trail machines exist against an EVM list of about 16 lakhs.

"The Supreme Court has issued notices today in the petition filed by the BSP in which we have taken several grounds, including challenging the introduction of the EVM and not bringing the VVPAT in all the seats in spite of the directions of the SC in its earlier judgement in October 2013.

The SC, after detailed hearing, has fixed May 8th as the date for next hearing. It has issued notice to the Election Commission," Mishra told the media here. Singhvi on his part asserted that barring a few National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies, almost every party in the opposition supports the issue.

"We told the court that it would take almost 150 years before you have paper trail and thereby you'll be denying SC requirement of transparency.

This is fundamental because basic structure of constitution puts free and fair election at that level.

Everything must be done to remove the slightest of the doubt. The Court considered prima facie some merit in this matter," Singhvi said. A Congress-led delegation led by party president Sonia Gandhi had submitted a memorandum on the alleged irregularities in the EVMs to President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday.

Earlier in March, the apex court had issued a notice to the Election Commission over a petition on the alleged tampering of the EVMs during the recent assembly elections in five states.

Source: ANI