The Bombay high court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government and the Centre to file replies to a public interest litigation seeking directions to the Election Commission and others to ensure that the people who get a paid leave on the polling day actually cast the vote.
"Many people take advantage of the paid leave and go on holiday to enjoy picnic while neglecting their duty to cast vote," says the petitioner Rajesh Khillare.
Most people working in the government as well as the private sector get a paid leave on the polling day, he says.
The PIL wants measures to ensure that people do not 'misuse' this leave on the polling day.
Expressing prima facie agreement with the the PIL's contention, the judges said that there should be some kind of regulation to ensure that the leave of absence on the polling day is not misused, and the government should give the issue a thought.
The Union government's counsel, however, said the government can not force the people to vote, even though they avail of a paid leave on the polling day.
But the petitioner contended that some deterrent steps should be taken. If someone does not want to vote for any of the candidates, he or she can opt for 'none of the above' option (NOTA), he pointed out.
The HC adjourned the matter for four weeks, seeking affidavits-in-reply from the state and the Centre.