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Friday, 27 September 2013

To vote or 'no vote'

To vote or 'no vote'

Now, with option of negative voting opened, you can dwell upon the question, to vote or 'no vote'? Either ways, you can participate in the elections. For the first time, Indians can reject all the candidates contesting elections by using the option of no vote. The Supreme Court of India on Friday held that citizens have right to cast negative vote, a decision which would bring about positive change in the election system. This would encourage wider participation of people in the election process.

The concept of negative voting isn't new to India. In the existing provision of Rule 49(O) of the Representation of People Act, a registered voter who after coming to a polling booth does not want to cast his vote, has to inform the presiding officer of his intention , who in turn would make an entry in the form17A after taking the signature of the said elector. However, this concept wasn't much popular due to it's open nature. The voter's using that open weren't given the security granted by the secret ballot system.

A Public interest litigation(PIL) was filed by an NGO, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), which had submitted that voters be given the right to negative voting. According to the PUCL, Section 49(O) violated the constitutional provisions guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) (Freedom of Speech and Expression) and Article 21 (Right to Liberty) and violated the concept of secret ballot.

The apex court has directed the Election Commission to provide 'None of the above' option at the end of the list of candidates in the electronic voting machine and ballot papers.

The court said that the right to reject candidates in election is part of fundamental right to speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India. It said that democracy is all about choice and significance of right of citizens to cast negative voting is massive.

So,now, there is no real reason not to vote in the elections. If you feel, none of the candidates deserve your vote, you can still vote for the same.

Related articles:-

Getting the best of democracy

Voter has a right to negative voting:SC

Voters have right to reject, Poll panel must give them options, says Supreme Court

Representation of People Act

Supreme Court allows voters to reject all candidates

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