SC gives right to negative vote

New Delhi, Sept 27 : Now voters can reject all candidates in a poll exercising their right to negative vote.

In a historic ruling, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission to provide a "non of the above" button on electronic voting machines (EVMs). Voters can press this button and reject all the candidates contesting elections in a constituency.

After nine years' hearing, the apex court passed the order which is likely to be implemented from the next Assembly polls in five states - Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram - scheduled to be held later this year.

Reacting to the judgement, Sanjay Parekh, lawyer of the petition, said: "The voter is empowered to reject anyone. It is not a negative vote, it is a right of expression given to a voter by the Constitution."

"It is a message that will go to the political parties to field good people in polls for good governance," he said.

"Now political parties should choose candidate with no criminal records," he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Balbir Punj, calling it a step forward in democracy, said: "It gives more options to the voter. Election Commission now has to do the needed change in view of the verdict."

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) welcomed the decision. Its leader Yogendra Yadav said in democracy everyone has a right to choose and right to reject.

"The EC had itself asked the government earlier to do it. It is a step forward in the democratic system," he said.

--IBNS (Posted on 27-09-2013)

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