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SC's negative voting verdict, good or bad for democracy

Supreme Court verdict on negative voting is good for democracy as it make our democracy colourful and vibrant. People can now use NOTA option if they don't like tainted candidates and who our big blotch for our democracy.

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The word democracy is enshrined in our preamble, after 67 years of independence our country is run by democratically elected governments. Free and fair elections are the building block of any democracy. However, till now the choices was limited.

Right to vote or not to vote is both a statutory right of the people as given in Representation of the People act. But while right to vote maintains secrecy of the voter not right to vote doesn't guarantee the same. If the voter after entering the election booth doesn't want to exercise his vote then he has to declare it and fill form 17 (A). This whole process discloses voter's identity and which is also against the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights.

In the recent verdict of Supreme Court in the case of people's union for civil liberties vs Union of India , court guarantee the right of secrecy to those voter who do not want to vote for any of the candidate against the government argument to provide secrecy to those voter who has casted their vote. Court find the government argument arbitrary, and against article 14 of the Constitution.

The Election Commission moved the law ministry in 2001 for introduction of the negative voting in EVM's but no initiative from the government was taken. The case come up with SC in 2009 and now it has declared not to give vote under Article 21 i.e. equivalent to the Right to Liberty.

NOTA is different from 'Right to Reject' as if NOTA gets more than 50 percent of votes then also candidate with less number of votes wins the election under first pass the post system.

But in Right to Reject people has the power to reject all candidates and fresh election has to be conducted with fresh set of candidates. Definitely it is more powerful, but still NOTA have some significance. Its fate is quite different from the earlier fate of blank vote which is considered as invalid vote but votes under NOTA are counted and these votes are valid.

It can also be used to ensure that candidates are clean; they have declared their assets and criminal cases if any. This gives clear message to all political parties that they have to field candidates who can serve the people's aspirations.

It is also the solution for the people who abstain from voting as they were disappointed by seeing same set of tainted candidates.

With 150 million new voters and weapon like NOTA it has definite potential to send signals in the gallery of the parliament that people are unhappy if you are not wining the majority votes.

In future it is possible that if more constituencies get majority NOTA votes then government has to amend The Representation of The people Act.

Representation of both voters and good candidates are necessary for proper governance of the country. SC verdict on negative voting is a first step in the process of making our democracy more meaningful.

As Parliament is not run by some good MPs but each good Parliamentarians, NOTA will compel political parties to select good candidates to be send to our Parliament.

-Preeti Aggarwal