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Supreme Court dismisses plea for cross-verification of all EVM votes with VVPAT slips

The judgement:

  • The Supreme Court dismissed the petitions seeking verification of all the votes cast on EVMs with VVPAT slips.
  • The apex court also rejected a plea to return to paper ballots.
  • The voter will not be allowed to take the VVPAT slip himself physically and drop into the ballot compartment, which is currently being dropped there automatically after the voter checks it through a screen.
  • The court said the ECI may explore the possibility of using an electronic machine to count VVPAT slips.
  • The sealed containers containing the SLUs shall be kept in storerooms, with the EVMs, (for) at least for 45 days post declaration of results, the court said.
  • The burnt memory in the EVM microcontroller must be checked by a team of engineers after results are declared if a candidate makes such a request, the verdict stated.

"Blindly distrusting a system can lead to unwarranted suspicions," Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna remarked.

OPINION: It is important that the random selection of the booths is done after the EVM counting. It would also help to clear any lingering doubts if the number of random booths is increased. The rest could be left to Lady Luck!

NEW DELHI, Apr 26: The Supreme Court dismissed a batch of petitions on Friday seeking cross-verification of all the votes cast through the EVMs (electronic voting machines) with the VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) paper slips during counting. It also rejected a plea to return to the old paper ballot system of voting.

The court also refused to allow the voters to put the VVPAT paper slips themselves into the ballot compartment instead of them being dropped into it automatically as is being done now.

The VVPAT slips are currently used to verify votes cast through the EVM only in five randomly selected polling booths per constituency. The petition was demanding to match up all the votes cast on EVM with the slips (100% verification).

The ECI argued that it matched EVM votes with more than 4 crore VVPAT slips and so far there were no discrepancies found. The commission explained how it is impossible to tamper with the EVMs and that the programme itself is copyrighted.

The VVPAT machine attached to the EVM prints out a slip of paper showing the vote cast by a voter and drops it into a compartment below. The slip is visible for seven seconds for the voter to check if the vote he cast has gone to the candidate of his choice. These slips can be used and counted like ballot papers and tallied with the candidate-wise total votes polled as shown by the EVM. But at present this counter-verification is done only for five randomly selected polling booths per constituency. This sampling is supposed to test the integrity of system of machine voting.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and other petitioners alleged that the EVM can be tampered with or even be pre-programmed to save majority votes in favour of a particular candidate/party/symbol.

Advantages of EVM

There are quite a few advantages of using the EVM voting machine, especially if transparency can be brought about. First, saving the paper. But even for paper ballot there used to be complaints long ago that a Russian magic ink was being used that does the trick of changing the mark in favour of the intended candidate. There have been serious charges against the pro-active spymaster of the universe for over a period of about three-fourths of a century. It is now in public domain that they, using their latest home-grown technology, helped Trump in winning the 2016 US presidential election but was preempted next time as the Democrats smelt a rat and succeeded in changing the voting pattern heavily in favour of postal ballot and early voting. A shocked Trump went violent and still remains unstable.

Secondly, and this one is quite good, that there is no chance of the most common dispute about the validity of a marking on a paper ballot by the voter in the old system, holding up counting! There can never be an error when the candidate's option is printed by a machine. Counting can be made easy.

Thirdly, saving the time. Results can be announced instantly. However, the argument that election in India is the largest democratic exercise in the world and we can no longer continue with the physical counting as in small countries like France and Switzerlad, is fallacious. It was the most stupid thing for the ECI to submit in the court that counting 100% VVPAT slips would pose a “great difficulty” as it would take an hour to count the slips from one VVPAT alone. Who are they kidding, the court?

TAILPIECE: It is true to say, if you know advanced computer programming, that anything is possible through computing technology in the universe today except for moving the mountains. And for that we don't need to wait for Quantum to come. Even without programming knowledge, a teacher from her home computer can correct her pupil's answers on his computer at his house. That is as simple as that! As for the EVM, a simple mobile can be used from outside the booth to rewrite the list/file the EVM is storing if you are familiar with the inside of the machine. It is questionable whether a jurist who is defined as an expert in the common laws formulated by the politicians, and the legal practices, by virtue of just being that jurist is competent to express opinions on these technological issues.


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A Spicejet passenger had a harrowing experience inside a tiny claustrophobic lavatory aboard a Mumbai-Bengaluru flight when he found to his bewilderment that the door was not opening.

Two days earlier, in a similar incident in the area, a domestic help was bitten by a pet dog in the lift when she was going for work.

Tailpiece: Sometimes appearing to outnumnber men and women on the streets, the stray dogs are turning more and more daring with sections of anti-social elements out there to feed and protect them in order to find a window for their unfulfilled love! There is an all-pervading feeling of lack of authority.

Ankit Tiwari had told the employee that “instructions had been received from the Prime Minister’s Office to conduct an enquiry” and reopen the “already disposed of” case and asked him to appear before the ED office at Madurai on October 30, DVAC said. The doctor was allegedly threatened with arrest and told to pay a bribe of Rs 3 cr to avoid the ED probe, which was later negotiated down to Rs 50 lakh.

Tailpiece: We are made to believe RBI, CBI, ED, Judiciary as sacrosanct and all others like railways, transport, revenue, education, PWD departments are composed of us the mortals, absolutely corrupt! As if in the sacrosanct places the angels descend from the heavens to work in the night and fly away before day-break! Let's be true to ourselves, we are all cut from the same cloth.

Apart from cash, Gill had also taken three planes as bribe and two of them were leased out to Redbird Aviation Academy. With the result, flying schools compromised on safety requirements and trainers met with accidents several times.

Five people were arrested from a banquet hall in Sector 51 Noida on Thursday where they were called to hold a rave party in a trap laid by the animal rights group, PFA. They named Yadav but he was not present.

Betting through Dubai-based Mahadev Book in India is conducted through a countrywide network. Probes reveal that the online gambling is worth several millions and top politicians, officials and celebs have been beneficiaries.

TAILPIECE: Polling dates for some States are round the corner. Top politicians have begun their acrimonious debate who looted more, even as Mahadev is washing their dirty laundry in the open ghat. Come what may, one needs to seize power to amass "thy wretched pelf!" One simple question is, why else one should spend lakhs or crores to get elected! A question every Indian should ask to oneself at least once a day!

His inaction amounts to defeating the rights of the people of the State to welfare measures sought to be implemented through the Bills, the Kerala Government's petition submitted, while the State of Tamil Nadu remarked that its "Governor is acting as a political rival."

Tailpiece: Coming up back to back, the petitions in their totality seem to question the provision of Raj Bhavan, and not motives of a Governor as a person.

Hundreds of cars piled up behind the wreckage of crashes occurring one after other in backing up - continuous crashes to the rhythm of metallic clanks and bangs back to back. According to reports, some ops required 'Jaws of Life' to pull apart the mangled cars to save lives inside.

The pilots struggled with Emerson to thwart a shut-off as he reached for the T-handles (see pix). Later he admitted to police he had taken psychedelic mushrooms and had a "nervous breakdown."

Doctors reasoned how the incidence of heart attacks is spiking over time and advise the simple way to play safely is to take a break and rehydrate yourself.

But how come ten people, including children, die of cardiac arrest at Garba in 24 hours, and that at different places of Gujarat? Garba had been going on for six days, and every year it is celebrated.

The killing of a teacher in France by an Islamic radical last Friday is linked to the Israel-Hamas war in West Asia, say authorities.

Shocking news from the UK: Leading grocers have started bribing policemen with free food and drinks to persuade them to take action against shoplifters.

Shoplifting has risen by about 27 per cent in 10 major cities across the UK this year. The cost of retail crime last year was $2.15 billion. Besides, “We are seeing organised gangs threatening staff with weapons and emptying stores," Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said. Data shows that the police failed to respond to 73 per cent of serious retail crimes that included assault and abuse of workers, apart from shoplifting.

Isar Mohammad allegedly picked up a banana offered to Ganesh idol on Chaturthi at a makeshift temple in Delhi and consumed it.

Harris said hip-hop is “the ultimate American art form” that “shapes every aspect of American popular culture.” “Hip-hop culture is American culture,” she said in a talk at her official residence at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

The social media had mixed reaction. There was much appreciation that she dances better than any VP in American history. But some called her "moves" as “cringe” while others did not like her pink pants - "pink pants don’t look good.” In fact, her ensembles have always been incongruous.

"Let’s see how the (Governor's) Vice-Chancellors are given salary." Mamata's extreme statements will put the Marxist Government in Kerala, which is also facing similar issues, to shame. Has she begun the countdown for a war on the streets?

It's true Mamata has come to see a conspiracy to demolish the established systems across the country, but lacks the ability to foresee what exactly is being pushed.

Brandishing a sword, Mahant Paramhans told reporters on Tuesday he himself will behead MK Stalin's son for his remarks against Sanatan Dharma in case nobody came forward to accept his offer he made in his video. Udhayanidhi reacted to the saint's Monday video, "I will speak more. I am the grandson of the artist who put his head on the rail track for Tamil Nadu."

Somanath elaborated, "I am an explorer. I explore the Moon. I explore the inner space. So it's a part of the journey of my life to explore both science and spirituality. So I visit many temples and I read many scriptures. So try to find the meaning of our existence and our journey in this cosmos. So it's a part of the culture that we are all built to explore, find out the inner self as well as outer self. So for the outer, I do science, for the inner I come to temples." (See videos)

Rao the mathematical legend had fathered the path-breaking Rao-Blackwell theorem, one of the most important theorems in mathematical statistics, at the age of 25. That brought him global fame. He is also famous for his Cramér-Rao Bound inequality theorem relating to quality of estimators in statistics which has had a profound bearing on applications of modern economics and several other diverse fields. Simply put, with the pioneering statistician computation became a tool to analyse even socio-economic challenges of modern times.

The alleged incident has received such a flash publicity that a standardised city's hugely middle class population will have second thoughts about eating outside for some time. Now everything on the table looks suspicious!

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