VOTER VERIFIED PAPER AUDIT TRAIL (Syllabus GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     9th April 2024        
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Context: Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) announced that petitions advocating for 100% verification of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips would be addressed soon, just ahead of the first phase of voting scheduled for April 19.

Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)

  • About: It is an independent system [consists of two parts, namely, VVPAT Printer and VVPAT Status Display Unit (VSDU)] attached with the Electronic Voting Machines that allows the voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended. 
  • Objective:

oTo allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly.

oTo detect possible election fraud or malfunction.

oTo provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.

  • Developed by: Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL).
  • Trails: Field trials in various locations, including Ladakh, Thiruvananthapuram, Cherrapunjee, East Delhi, and Jaisalmer, took place in July 2011.
  • Beginning: The Government of India notified the amended Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 in 2013, enabling the Commission to use VVPAT with EVMs.

oThe SC in Subramanian Swamy v ECI (2013) held that VVPAT is an "indispensable requirement of free and fair elections. 

oThe VVPAT was used for the first time in all 21 polling stations of the Noksen Assembly constituency of Nagaland in 2013.

o2019 Lok Sabha elections became the first general election to have 100% of EVMs being attached to VVPATs.

  • VVPAT slips counting: EC mandated the counting of VVPAT slips of one randomly selected polling station per Assembly constituency. This was increased to five polling stations per Assembly seat.
Samadhaan