Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Election Commission to introduce paper trail in electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The court directed the EC to introduce paper trail in a phased manner so that the same could be in place for the next General Elections.
The apex court also directed the Centre to provide financial assistance for introducing Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system.
The VVPAT in EVMs will ensure "free and fair" polls and will help in "sorting out disputes", a bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
The apex court had last week asked the EC to explore the possibility of introducing VVPAT in EVMs to maintain paper record of each vote for upcoming Assembly polls in five states and next General Election in 2014.
The apex court order followed EC`s submission that VVPAT was successfully and satisfactorily utilised for Nagaland Assembly Elections in February this year.
The order came in response to a plea by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction to the poll watchdog to ensure EVMs have a paper trail and issue a receipt to each voter.
The poll panel had also informed the bench that VVPAT can be introduced in a phased manner and cited administrative and financial reasons for it. It had said 13 lakh VVPAT machines would be needed for General Elections.
The Election Commission had said approximately Rs 1500 crore would be required for procuring VVPAT and installing it at all polling booths across the country for Lok Sabha polls and there are only two state-owned companies -- Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) -- which manufacture the machines.
(With PTI inputs)