The Supreme Court ignores the opposition's plea to increase the VVPAT number

NEW DELHI: A Final Effort Of Leaders From 21 Non-NDA Parties To Count A Larger Number Failed Tuesday With The Supreme Court That Closed Their Prediction And Maintained The Previous Order Of Slip Counts Of Five EVMs Per Assembly Segment

The Opposition Parties Wanted To Convince The Court To Increase The Number Of Shots To 50% Of The EVMs In Each Assembly Segment. The EC Had Previously Argued That The System From One Per Assembly Segment Had Worked Smoothly And That A Larger Count Would Significantly Delay The Result Statement.

At De Oppositiepartijen ' Request To Increase The VVPAT Slip Count, The Electoral Commission Had Said It Would Not Only Delay Election Results But Would Also Require More Staff And Fresh Training For New Protocols. The Court, While Not Disputing The EC's Submissions On The Accuracy Of EVMs, Said An Increase In Slip Counts Would Help Reassure Public Opinion In The Light Of Claims That The Machines Could Be Manipulated. The Opposition Parties ' Renewed Plea Just Came A Fortnight Before The Counting Of Votes For The General Elections Is To Start.

A Court Of Chief Judge And Judges Deepak Gupta And Sanjiv Khanna Rejected The Petition Filed By 21 Leaders Led By TDP ' S N Chandrababu Naidu Looking For A Review Of The Apex Court ' S 8 April Order. Naidu Was Present In Court Together With Other Petitioners - CPI Leader D Raja And Leader Of The National Conference - To Witness The Proceedings.

The Bench Took Less Than Two Minutes To Close The Hearing And Obliterate The Hope Of Opposition Leaders That VVPAT Slip-counting Could Be Further Improved.

As The Court Made Clear At The Start Of The Hearing That It Was Not Inclined To Allow The Petitioners ' Advocate Dit Keer, Senior Proponents AM Singhvi And Kapil Sibal Advocated That The Counting Should Be Increased To 25% Of The EVMs As A Confidence-building Measure.

Singhvi Said That The Increase In Matching VVPAT Slips With EVMs To Five Cabs Per Assembly Segment Was Only A Skinny 2% And Must Be Increased To At Least 25%. The Above-mentioned Increase To Only 2% (from 0.44%) Is Not Sufficient And Will Not Make A Substantial Difference To The Situation That Existed Before The Order Expired On April 8, He Said.

He Said That Although The Petitioners Succeeded In The Merits Of Their Claim, This Did Not Resolve Their Complaint Or Brought About Any Meaningful Change In The Situation They Were Initially Concerned About.

The Court, However, Remained Steadfast And Rejected Their Petition To Amend Its Order Of 8 April. To Justify Their Decision To Approach The Judge Again Just A Month After Receiving A Favorable Order, The Petitioners Claimed That" A Number Of EVMs And VVPATs Were Found To Be Defective/defective Throughout The Country" In The First Phase Of Voting.

It Has Been Reported That In Some Cases Where Voters Would Vote For One Party, Another Party's Vote Would Have Been Cast. In Constituencies Where EVMs Or VVPATs Were Found To Be Defective, Polling Had To Be Delayed And In Some Cases Continued Until The Early Morning Hours. They Said In The Petition.