12 facts about the right to reject all


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Niticentral Staff27 Sep 2013

 
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Giving more power to the citizens of this country, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission of India to give ‘none of the above’ option to the voters, if they want to reject candidates contesting polls. According to the Election Commission, they will initiate it with the next set of Assembly elections this year.


Here are the facts on the issue:
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Political parties have so far not made their stand clear over Supreme Court's directive. However, the BJP has demanded the debate over the issue, while, Left parties have asked what purpose will it serve to the citizens.

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Even social activist Anna Hazare had campaigned extensively for the amendments in electoral system that would include both the Right to Reject and the Right to Recall an elected representative if the voter is dissatisfied with the candidate's performance.

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The Central Government has opposed the proposal saying that an election is meant to elect and not to reject. It also argued that including a Right to Reject' button will confuse voters and will not serve any purpose.

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The Election Commission has also supported SC's decision and had also recommended the Government to amend rules to include this option, but nothing has been done on this.

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The Apex Court upheld the argument of petitioner, the People's Union for Civil Liberties, an NGO, that a voter has the Right to record disapproval of all candidates listed.

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According to analysts and activists the 'Right to Reject' will also offer an opportunity for re-election in the constituency, if 50 per cent or more people reject the candidature.

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In fact, there is also no methodology available to count these 'rejected' votes, therefore, these votes will not leave a great impact over the result of the mandate.

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At present, a viable option available for voters is that if they do not wish to cast their votes then they have to sign a register, which actually violates the Right of Secret Ballot.

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With the fast approaching Assembly election in States like Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram - the voters will have the Right to Reject option.

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Moreover, it will force the political parties to project clean candidates for good governance and will foster purity and vibrancy in elections.

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The Apex Court observed that this will bring a change in elections.

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The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission of India to make people aware of its direction so that voters know that they will now have a 'none of the above' option on EVMs.



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  • Kapil

    This is a welcome step forward

    It is a shame that despite the Rule 49 O having been in existence since about 1961, no serious attempts have been made to make it mandatory and enforceable. ALL the governments since then have chosen to ignore this important legislation.

    The said provision has been the subject of a not so silent movement among the educated…. it has been SUGGESTED that the Rule 49 O from which this provision emanates, was introduced with the following in mind:

    1. IF the “NOTA” votes exceed the vote count of the leading candidate, the entire voting gets cancelled and .. a fresh election with all FRESH candidates to be held

    2. IF the “NOTA” votes exceed the margin between the leading candidate and the runner up, re-voting to be held while deleting all candidates whose vote count is below the “NOTA” vote count

    Unfortunately, the Hon’ble Supreme Court Judgment. at least as reported, does not seem to make the “NOTA” votes countable and/ or enforceable.