Saturday, September 28, 2013

Negative voting allowed by Supreme Court may bring electoral revolution

On 27th Sep 2013, Indian Supreme Court directed Election Commission to include a button called 'None of the above' (NOTA) in the Electronic Voting machines (EVMs) with immediate effect.  (download the judgement copy).

This judgement has generated a ray of hope among the Indian voters to clean the politics.  Presently, all the parties put up persons  of doubtful background as their party candidates.  Since the voters had no choice to reject such candidates, they chose either one of the candidates or refrain from going to polling booth.

In the early 2000, when Mr T S Krishna Murthy was the Chief Election Commissioner, some of the social activists like Mr R Desikan (Founder and Chairman of Catalyst Trust and Consumers Association of India) and Mr A K Venkatasubramanian (IAS Retd) took serious initiatives to improve the system.

During 2004 and 2009 General Elections, when Mr T S Krishna Murthy and Mr N Gopalswamy were the Chief Election Commissioners of India, they promoted the concept of Rule 49 (O) in the conduct of Election Rules 1961. As per this rule, the voter can exercise his option not to record his vote.  But he had to sign a register.

In this process the secrecy guaranteed by the Constitution is not protected.  Though the Chief Election Commissioners from Mr T S Krishna Murthy have been recommending to the Government, to bring in electoral reforms, including adding a button for NOTA, the Government of India has not implemented any electoral reforms so far.

The recent SC judgement was delivered in the PIL filed by PUCL.  According to Mr Desikan, this judgement will revolutionalise the future elections.  Probably, it may also lead to 'proportionate representation system' to avoid huge election expenses.

Please listen to the podcast interview with Mr Desikan, recorded over mobile. (5 minutes).

This podcast may also heard from

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