Voters get ‘Right to Reject’ Candidates

In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court has empowered the voters with a strong weapon, which will allow them ‘right to reject’ all candidates in the elections. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was quick to welcome, but the Congress and Left have opposed the verdict, saying it will undermine the democratic structure of the country and may lead to severe repercussions.

Negative VotingThe BJP has welcomed the verdict, but on a cautious note.  Many political parties will be concerned about the ‘None of the Above’ button in the EVM ballot. The Supreme Court’s judgement came on a petition filed by  People’s Union for Civil Liberties, which sought this unique option for the voters. Leading social activist Anna Hazare had mulled this idea first and even vowed to carry out ‘satyagraha’ in it support.

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The Apex Court bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that voters should be allowed to reject all candidates in an election in their constituencies, as negative voting would foster purity and vibrancy in the polls. It can be noted that negative voting is currently available in 13 countries across the world. So, there is no reason to believe that it would go against the democratic structure of the country.

“Negative voting would lead to drastic changes in the polls and force the political parties to project clean candidates. If right to vote is statutory right, right to reject candidate is fundamental right of speech and expression under Constitution,” the Apex Court ruled.

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