Pune, 10th February 2024: In a move aimed at enhancing transparency within the electoral system, senior Congress leaders from Pune, including Adv Abhay Chhajed and Ramesh Iyer, have filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court.
The petition seeks the inclusion of the time and date of voting on the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slip of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). This case has been listed before the bench comprising Chief Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Mishra.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has issued notices to both the Election Commission and the Central Government, directing them to provide their responses. Represented by Adv Abhay Anil Anturkar, Adv Surbhi Kapoor, and Adv Asim Sarode, the Congress leaders aim to address concerns regarding the transparency of the electoral process. Initially scheduled for February 7, 2024, the hearing did not proceed on the said date and is anticipated in the near future.
The bottom line of this legal move by Congress leaders is the demand for the inclusion of the time and date of voting on the VVPAT slips. The absence of this vital information on VVPAT slips during the 2019 elections created buzz and debate in political circles.
The petitioners emphasize that despite recommendations from the expert committee of the Election Commission advocating for the printing of date and time on VVPAT slips, these recommendations have not been implemented. The Congress leaders stress the importance of coordination between the government and the Election Commission to ensure the timely execution of expert committee recommendations before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
According to the petitioners, voters have the right to receive a VVPAT slip specifying the date and time of their voting, which would contribute to a more accountable and transparent electoral process. The petition underscores the need for reliability and improvement in the functioning of EVM machines and VVPAT slips to conduct elections in a free, clear, and transparent environment.