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Hi Voters!! A Few Words About ‘NOTA’

April 3, 2014 | By

The negative voting has been recognised by many nations. Many countries practise it. This is in vogue in different terminologies in different countries. In Spain and Columbia it is vote en blanco. In the US State of Nevada it is none of these candidates. In Bangladesh it is na vote.

EVM

NOTA on the EVM has been designed to indicate the disapproval.

With the Supreme Court verdict on September 27, 2013 the voters of our country have started enjoying the right to use ‘none of the above’ [NOTA] button on the electronic voting machines. First they exercised the right at the last Assembly elections in the five states. Voters will exercise the right in a wider scale in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Earlier voters in our country used to express their displeasure for all the candidates in a constituency by using a large ‘X’ covering the entire ballot paper or cancelled the ballot papers by using slangs like – no candidate deserves my vote/ I don’t want any idiot as my representative and so forth.

This time ‘NOTA’ on the ‘EVM’ has been designed to indicate the disapproval for all the candidates in the constituency. It has been observed that to ignore negative vote will defeat freedom of expression. This move by the SC will foster sanctity of electoral process, as this has been noted by various parlour. It is further felt that negative voting by using NOTA serves a very essential part of a vibrant democracy.

The negative voting has been recognised by many nations. Many countries practise it. This is in vogue in different terminologies in different countries. In Spain and Columbia, it is vote en blanco. In the US State of Nevada, it is none of these candidates. In Bangladesh it is na vote.

‘NOTA’ does not, however, empower the voters ‘ the right to reject’ all candidates even if, ‘NOTA’ is chosen by majority number of voters in a constituency . This was amply clear when the court did not opine on ‘the right to reject’ on the petition of People’s Union for Civil Liberties demanding the right for ‘NOTA’ or NO CHOICE only.

S Y Quraishi, the former chief election commissioner feels that the order is “the right to register a negative opinion.” He too thinks that by dint of this order all candidates of a particular constituency do not stand rejected or defeated arguably even if , the number of ‘NOTA’ votes is more than the number of votes garnered by all candidates together, not to speak of the highest vote-getter.

Hence the ‘NOTA’ does not affect the election results. Neither it will perturb the on-going rule of the corrupt-criminal-communal politicians. Once again the ‘mockery’ of Indian democracy is carefully safeguarded and sustained!

But we may note that about 16 lakh voters exercised the new right in the last Assembly elections in the five states. Is the figure ignorable? Can’t ‘NOTA’ act as a pressure on the political parties to nominate only good candidates for a good governance? Can’t ‘NOTA’ pave the way for the call for The Right To Reject and The Right To Recall?

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Tapan Dasgupta, a business associate caters to corporate brand promotion and scribbles at pastime to shape out literary forms.
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