Debate: 'Right to reject' a reality - 2

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Debate: 'Right to reject' a reality - 2

by TIMES NOW 14:04 mins

Debate: 'Right to reject' a reality - 2

by TIMES NOW 14:04 mins

In a path-breaking judgement, the Supreme Court on Friday (September 27) held that voters have a right to reject all candidates contesting polls in a constituency by pressing a button for negative vote, saying this would compel political parties to field "sound" candidates who are known for their integrity. The Election Commission will now have to provide an option for negative voting in the Electronic Voting Machines and ballot papers. The verdict, however, appeared to raise questions over what happens if majority of electorate in a constituency vote negatively.Election Commission sources said though the electoral law on the issue is silent, the new 'none of the above' (NOTA) option may virtually amount to an invalid vote and those getting the highest votes among the candidates will be declared the winner. The apex court said there is a "dire need" of negative voting which will bring "systemic change" in the election process as "the political parties will be forced to accept the will of the people" and field clean candidates when a large number of people express their disapproval with the candidates being put up by them. It said casting of the vote is a facet of the right of expression of an individual and the said right is provided under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and "not allowing a person to cast vote negatively defeats the very freedom of expression and the right ensured in Article 21 i.e., the right to liberty".In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists -- Sanjay Jha, Spokesperson, Congress; Satyapal Jain, Head Legal Cell, BJP; Mohandas Pai, Former Director HR, Infosys; Shazia Ilmi, Leader, Aam Aadmi Party; TSR Subramaniam, Former Cabinet Secretary and Devesh Thakur, Leader, JD (U) -- discuss whether, will the option of rejecting all candidates in a ballot strengthen our democracy.

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