The Election Commission will meet all recognised political parties on May 10 to seek their consent for the new voter verifiable paper trail (VVPT) machines to replace the EVMs, following doubts that it could be tampered.
Over 13 lakh machines at a cost of roughly Rs 1,690 crore is what the Commission would require to conduct the General Elections with the VVPT technology. Under this system, the voter will get to see a paper trail of the vote cast by him providing details of the candidate, party name, and symbol. This would be collected in a box provided separately with the machine.
With the matter currently being monitored by the Supreme Court in a PIL filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, EC informed that it would rely on the Centre to earmark finances and carry out necessary amendments to the Conduct of Election Rules 1961.
Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General GE Vahanvati informed a Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi that the process of amendment was “underway”. In response to a letter written by EC on March 28, 2013, the Legislative Department of the Law Ministry had begun the work of preparing amendments to the Rules, which would be placed before the Parliament.
The Bench exclaimed, “We are happy that it has finally materialised. Now what remains is when we are to implement it.” Swamy informed the Court that the legal amendment and allocation of finances were minor issues and as regards the May 10 meeting, all parties were in support of introducing the VVPT machines. However, he urged the Court to keep the matter pending.
Swamy apprehended that for some “unforeseen reasons” if the Government was unable to implement the new system, he would reserve his right to re-introduce ballot system of voting. The court posted the matter for further consideration on August 22.