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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 28 May 2024 4.32 PM IST

'Machines can be trusted without human intervention', Supreme Court considers electronic voting machine reliability amid calls for VVPAT transparency

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NEW DELHI: A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Dutta observed in a petition challenging the reliability of electronic voting machines that machines would give accurate results without human intervention.

The court was hearing pleas seeking complete counting of VVPAT (Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) receipts along with the votes cast in the voting machines. The hearing in the case will continue tomorrow.

Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), argued that the voting machine was not reliable, so it should either revert to using paper ballots entirely or ensure that VVPAT slips are deposited in a separate box and fully counted. He mentioned that both the voting machine and VVPATs have programmable chips and programs can be inserted into them.

Currently, voters cannot see the VVPAT slip being printed. Bhushan argued that counting VVPAT slips together with the voting machine would save time.

Justice Khanna observed that human intervention could lead to problems, as human biases may come into play. Without human intervention, the machine will work properly and give accurate results. He also noted that manipulations or unauthorized changes often occur when there is human intervention.

While Bhushan mentioned that European countries like Germany still use paper ballots, the bench pointed out that Germany's population is only around 5-6 crore, while India has 98 crore voters. Justice Khanna also referred to incidents of booth capturing.

He also highlighted that his state, West Bengal, has a larger population than Germany. Justice Dipankar Dutta emphasized the importance of trusting the system rather than attempting to subvert it.

Bhushan argued that if the same party gets two consecutive votes, VVPAT can be rigged so that one vote goes to one party and one to the other party.

The secrecy of the source code of the voting machines raises doubts about its reliability. Bhushan also mentioned that some directors of the public sector organizations that manufacture the machines are BJP members.

Advocates Santosh Paul, Husefa Ahmadi, Anand Grover, Sanjay Hegde and Gopal Sankaranarayanan also appeared for various parties.

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TAGS: ELECTRONIC, VOTING, MACHINE, TRANSPARENT, VVPAT, SUPREME, COURT
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