Indian voters given right to reject candidates in election

Supreme Court of India in a historic judgement has given Indian voters right to reject all candidates in election.

Supreme court has given Indian voters right to reject candidates.

Supreme court has given Indian voters right to reject candidates.

Supreme Court of India in a historic judgement has given Indian voters right to reject all candidates in election.

New Delhi, Sept 27/Nationalturk – In a significant and historic judgement, Indian Supreme Court has given Indian voters right to reject all candidates in election.

Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked India’s Election Commission to make changes in voting machines and ballot papers, giving voters a “none of the above” choice, and publicise this change widely.

The Supreme court was hearing a petition filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties, an NGO, which had stated that a voter has the right to record disapproval of all candidates listed.

“The voters should be allowed to reject all candidates standing in an election in his/her constituency,” the bench said in its ruling.

‘Negative voting would lead to systematic change’

The apex court observed that negative voting would lead to systemic change in elections and political parties will be forced to project clean candidates. “This will foster purity and vibrancy in elections.”

“Democracy is all about choices and voters will be empowered by this right of negative voting. Negative voting will send a clear signal to political parties and candidates as to what the voters think about them,” Chief Justice Sathasivam said.

The apex court observed that concept of negative voting is prevalent in 13 countries and even in India, parliamentarians are given an option to press the button for abstaining while voting takes place in the parliament.

“If right to vote is statutory right, right to reject candidate is fundamental right of speech and expression under Constitution,” the court further.

Sources said the judgement will be implemented immediately and the “none of the above” option will be included in EVMs and ballot papers to be used in the upcoming state Assembly Elections later this year.

‘Judgement will have little impact on outcome of election

“With the concept of negative voting, the voters who are dissatisfied with the candidates in the fray would turn up in large number to express their opinion which would put unscrupulous elements and impersonators out of the polls,” the supreme court observed.

However, political observers said the historic judgement will have little impact on the outcome of an election as negative votes will only be recorded on EVMs but not counted.

“The apex court  did not throw light on a situation in case the votes cast under no option head outnumber the votes got by the candidates. It said that secrecy of votes cast under the no option category must be maintained by the Election Commission,” they said.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk India News

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