SC empowers voters to reject all poll nominees

In a landmark verdict aimed at cleaning the political system of unworthy leaders, the Supreme Court on Friday said citizens have a right to cast a negative vote during polls and directed the Election Commission to make provision in electronic voting machines to opt for a “none of the above” choice.
The new “none of the above” (NOTA) provision will come into effect immediately, unless challenged by the Centre, thus empowering the electorate to reject all the candidates contesting the coming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. The court’s ruling came three days after the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to negate an earlier Supreme Court ruling that had barred convicted legislators from contesting polls.
The judgment, which can become a game-changer in the political system, evoked a mixed response from political parties. While AICC general secretary Ajay Maken said the order needed to be studied to see if the court had taken all aspects, like overwhelming number of negative votes into account, and reacting on the spur of the moment could be premature, BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi welcomed it as a “great step” in making the country’s democracy “vibrant and participative”.
Writing in his blog, Mr Modi felt “it will have a long-lasting impact on our polity and will be a great step in the direction of further electoral reforms that can make our democracy even more vibrant and participative.”

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