EC agrees in principle to voting machines with printouts

New Delhi, Oct 4 : The Election Commission Friday told the Supreme Court that it was in principle ready to introduce voting machines which give a printed record to voters once they exercise their franchise.

The election panel said it had placed an order for 20,000 machines with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility and these will be introduced in a phased manner.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi accepted the commission's stand on limitations in procurement of the new machines and said: "You try. We realise your problem. You can't implement it in entire country (in one go)."

As the court made this observation, petitioner BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said: "Let it be before the Lok Sabha elections."

Swamy contended in his plea that the recording of the votes on a printout was necessary as EVMs were not tamper proof.

The commission told the court it had placed an order of 20,000 new voting machines with VVPAT with Bangalore-based PSU Bharat Electronics Limited and Hyderabad-based Electronics Corp of India Limited at a cost of Rs.38 crore.

The court reserved its order on the petition.

Appearing for the Election Commission, senior counsel Ashok Desai earlier said voting machines with VVPAT were "very successfully" implemented last month in Nagaland as a pilot project in an assembly by-election.

The commission requires about 13 lakh voting machines with VVPAT to hold the 2013 general elections with the voter printout facility.

--IANS (Posted on 04-10-2013)

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