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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Activists hail SC view on negative voting

IANS  New Delhi, September 27, 2013
First Published: 14:10 IST(27/9/2013) | Last Updated: 14:17 IST(27/9/2013)

The Supreme Court verdict on negative voting - allowing voters to exercise the option of None of the Above (NOTA) in EVMs and ballot papers - is being seen as a positive development by advocacy firms and activist on Friday.

They, however, feel that the advantage of it depends on the way it is implemented.

"The SC verdict is a very important development, but its full advantage will be available only depending on how it is implemented," Jagdish Chhokar, founder member of  Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), said.

Welcoming the verdict, political analyst and member of an advocacy think tank, Shantanu Gupta said: "The verdict is important as it will now help maintaining secrecy with the NOTA option in the EVMs and ballot papers, unlike earlier when people used to go and fill the forms under 49(o) to the returning officer."

The court has now directed the Election Commission to introduce a button for NOTA in the EVMs and as an option on ballot papers.

"Verdict will induce purity in political system and political parties will have to put good candidates. Follow-up steps are necessary to negate any apprehension of instability in political process. Those candidates who get the maximum number of 'None-To-Vote' should be barred to contest any election for life-time," said Subhash Chandra Agrawal, a right to information activist.

Earlier on Friday, Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal tweeted; "We welcome SC judgment that there should be a button at the bottom of EVM - None of the Above. This is first concrete step towards right to reject."

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) had  moved the apex court in 2004, with a plea that voters should have a right to negative vote, saying that they do not want to vote any of the candidates listed in the EVM.


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