Following a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking an amendment in election rules to protect the identities of those casting negative votes, the Bombay high court on Thursday issued a notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Girish Godbole also directed the state election commission to file an affidavit in response to the PIL filed by Thane-based medical practitioner, Dr Mahesh Bedekar. The PIL seeks either providing for an additional option of "None of the above" on the Electronic Voting Machines, or a separate ballot box for storing negative votes, and is now posted for further hearing after four weeks. Currently, those casting a negative vote are required to record it on a form in presence of the returning officer.
His counsel SM Gorwadkar pointed out that the chief election commissioner (CEC) had agreed about the necessity of keeping identity of those casting negative votes secret, in an affidavit filed before the apex court. The court thought it necessary to add central commission as a party respondent, in view of this affidavit.