VVPAT Counting Sequence to remain as per Supreme Court Approved guidelines: ECI
A delegation of 22 Political Parties met the Full Election Commission on 21st May 2019. Amongst other issues which they raised was the request to count VVPATs slips before the commencement of counting of votes polled in EVMs.
Immediately after departure of the delegation, The Commission deliberated on the issue with senior officials dealing with this issue in ECI. After two rounds of in-depth discussions yesterday and today, it has neither been found possible nor feasible to accede to this demand in the overall context and especially in view of the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Writ Petition (C) No.273 of 2019 delivered on 8.4.2019. The said judgement directs that the random selection of VVPATs shall be subjected to the process of slip verification as per the guidelines 16.6 of EVM Manual in force. (https://www.eci.gov.in/files/file/9230-manual-on-electronic-voting-machine-and-vvpat/ )
There were some other procedural issues like allowing counting agents of candidates along with all Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers on which necessary instructions have already been reiterated and wherever required made more candidate-friendly.
The Commission while thanking all the esteemed Members of the delegation assures them and all the electors of the country that the entire counting especially guarding the strong rooms and counting centres is already being done in an absolutely fair and transparent manner.