New Delhi: The Election Commission on Sunday told the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court if it wants verification of votes cast in the Punjab assembly polls with voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT).
In a letter to the AAP, the EC wrote: "As regards your demand for verification of votes cast in EVMs in Punjab state legislative assembly with paper trail data of VVPAT, your attention is invited to Rule 93 of the Conduct of Elections Rules 1961."
According to the law, the control units "sealed under the provisions of rule 57C and kept in the custody of the District Election Officer shall not be opened and shall not be inspected by, or produced before, any person or authority except under the orders of a competent court".
"Hence, you are informed that after declaration of result only alternative available to verify the data of votes cast is to file an election petition before the competent court, that is, high court concerned," the EC said.
It said that the commission has put in place "an elaborate technical and administrative system of safeguards to ensure error-free functioning of EVMs" in elections.
"It is for your party to introspect as to why your party could not perform as per your expectations and it is unfair on the part of your party to attribute unsatisfactory poll performance of your party to the alleged tamperability (sic) of EVMs," the poll panel said in the letter to the AAP.
The AAP, that had given a representation to the EC on March 25 demanding verification of votes in Punjab assembly polls with paper trail data, termed the EC reply as "unfortunate".
"It is unfortunate that instead of taking due action, the Election Commission is issuing political statements on the issue of EVM tampering," it said in a statement.
It said the incident in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh proved that EVMs were not tamper-proof.
"The incident has shaken the faith of millions of Indian voters in the impartiality of the Election Commission and the entire process of elections in which EVMs are used," it said.
During a media demonstration ahead of by-polls in Ater and Bandhavgarh assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, a faulty VVPAT dispensed slips of the BJP symbol only.