Indian voters cheer court’s decision allowing rejection of all poll candidates
- POSTED: 01 Oct 2013 16:51
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In a historic judgment, India's Supreme Court has given its citizens the right to reject all candidates contesting in an election.
NEW DELHI: In a historic judgment, India's Supreme Court has given its citizens the right to reject all candidates contesting in an election.
The judgment means that India joins a select group of nations including France, Brazil, Ukraine and Spain that have a "none of the above" vote, or also known as a scratch vote in some countries.
The court has ordered the introduction of a "none of the above" option on the electronic voting machines and ballot papers.
It observed that the concept of negative voting, which is already prevalent in 12 countries, will usher in a significant change in the voting system and will encourage parties to field clean candidates.
The decision has been welcomed by voters.
Pradeep Deshmukh, a local resident, said: "This is a historic order and will strengthen people's confidence in democracy.
“The Supreme Court has given this great right to the people and if people don't like any candidate, they can now reject that candidate or all of them."
While those in favour of the decision think the right to reject candidates will encourage more non-voters to vote, there are others who feel the order will actually not have much of an impact.
Another local resident, Kirpa Shankar, said: "Yes, this is a welcome decision. But I don't think this will bring in any major change. People who don't want to vote, don't go to vote."
The verdict has been largely applauded, but the ruling Congress party, however, has raised questions over the implications of the order.
Rashid Alvi, Congress party spokesperson, said: "We respect every judgment of every court. But I am unable to understand the consequences of the judgment.
“We have to go through this judgment and there may be far reaching consequences of this judgment. You have to amend people's act and all parties should come together to think over it."
While the judgment is ground-breaking, it will not have much of an impact on the actual election results since negative voting will only be recorded, not counted.
Nevertheless, it is a step in the right direction to further empower voters when exercising their most fundamental democratic right.
The impact, if any, will soon be felt as India gears up for its next general election.