New Delhi, April 18: The Election Commission of India on Thursday denied before Supreme Court the news report, claiming that four electronic voting machines (EVMs) were recording one extra vote for BJP during a mock poll in Kerala's Kasaragod. ECI official present in Supreme Court said that news reported and cited is totally false.

Senior deputy election commissioner Nitesh Kumar Vyas told a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta that "These news reports are false. We have verified the allegation from the district collector and it appears that they are false. We will submit a detailed report to the court." Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 1: Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar Urges People To Vote (Watch Video).

Response of ECI official came during the hearing of a batch of pleas seeking complete cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). Earlier in the day, the bench asked senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the Election Commission, to look into the issue after advocate Prashant Bhushan cited a news report of flagged the issue.

Bhushan, representing NGO 'Association for Democratic Reforms', cited a report on mock poll results of Kerala where extra votes for BJP were found recorded. As asked by the bench, ECI official present in the court room explained the working of the EVMs and VVPAT. He said manufacturer does not know which button is going to be allotted to which party or which machine is going to be allotted to which State. He also apprised the court that there had been no mismatch ever between EVMs and VVPAT slips. Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 1: 102 Seats, 16.63 Crore Voters, 1.87 Lakh Polling Stations for General Polls on April 19.

During the hearing, the bench observed, "This is electoral process. There has to be sanctity. Let nobody have apprehension that something which is expected is not being done." VVPAT is an independent vote verification system which enables an elector to see whether his vote was cast correctly.

The VVPAT generates a paper slip that is kept in a sealed cover and can be opened if there is a dispute. Currently, VVPAT slips of five randomly selected EVMs in every Assembly segment are verified.

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