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PIL demands right to say 'none suitable'

April 05, 2004 08:47 IST

A public interest petition filed in the Supreme Court raises an interesting question should voters not have the right to say 'none of the candidates' in the fray is suitable to be elected?

The Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has posed this question saying it forms part of 'free and fair election and right to maintain secrecy of the vote', which is essential to democracy.

The petition, likely to be heard next week, said that the Election Commission, while preparing the list of candidates on the ballot paper or on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) could keep a slot for voters who wanted to say they 'did not want to vote' as none of the candidates contesting from the constituency were suitable.

PUCL states that the Representation of People Act, 1951 recognises 'the right of voter not to vote, which is necessary for a healthy democracy'.

At present, all voters have to cast their votes for one or the other candidates as any other marking on the ballot paper or pressing wrong buttons on the EVMs would make their votes invalid.

"Article 324 the Constitution gives plenary powers to the Election Commission and the Commission can fill the lacuna," PUCL said and sought a direction from the apex Court to that effect.

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