The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the prayer for 100 per cent verification of votes polled on electronic voting machines (EVMs) with slips printed by the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, and the alternative, a return to paper ballots.

Notably, the court also gave candidates the option to get a proportion of the EVMs “checked and verified by a team of engineers from EVM manufacturers post the announcement of results” on a written request, expenses for which will be notified by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

In two separate but concurring judgments, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta said it had elaborately discussed the technical aspects and protocol regarding EVMs.

“There are three pleas taken – that we should return to the paper ballot system, that the printed slips on the VVPAT machine should be given to voter to verify and put in the ballot box for counting, there should be 100 percent counting of VVPAT slips in addition to electronic counting…We have rejected all of them after referring to the protocol in place, technical aspects and data which is on record,” the bench said.

Justice Datta in his ruling said that “while maintaining a balanced perspective is crucial in evaluating systems or institutions, blindly distrusting any aspect of the system can breed unwarranted skepticism and impede progress”.