In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission of India to include negative voting in all polls by permitting voters to select a "none of the above" option.
The SC directed that this option, called the NOTA (none of the above), be made available in ballot papers as well as in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
The apex court bench of Chief Justice P.Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that negative voting would gradually lead to systemic changes as political parties will have to respect the will of the people in selecting their candidates.
Pronouncing the judgment, Chief Justice Sathasivam said the mechanism of negative voting is a necessary and vibrant part of democracy.
The 'right to reject' has long been sought by various groups as a key electoral reform.
The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) had moved the apex court in 2004 with a plea that voters should have a right to negative vote, saying that it does not want to vote any of the candidates listed in EVM.
It had sought directions to Election Commission (EC) to make provision in the EVMs providing option "None of the Above" and the right to say NOTA should be kept secret.
The SC reportedly said on Friday, in response to a petition seeking the right to reject all candidates in an election, that negative voting would foster purity and vibrancy in elections.
It asked the central government to provide all assistance to the election commission in introducing NOTA option in the EVMs and ballot papers.
(with inputs from IANS)
Updated Date: Sep 27, 2013 12:34:37 IST