Political parties on Friday reacted cautiously to a Supreme Court verdict holding that citizens have the right to reject candidates contesting polls, while the Communist Party of India - Marxist said that the judgment has led to an "abnormal situation" that needs to be corrected.
Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken said the judgment needs to be studied to see if the apex court has taken all the aspects -- like an overwhelming number of negative votes -- into account as reacting on the spur of the moment could be a little premature.
Implementation of the verdict will be difficult and it may create many problems, said party leader Rashid Alvi.
Bharatiya Janata Party Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "We are in favour of electoral reforms. 25-30 years ago, we used to have elections once in five years but now we have elections every four months in some state or the other. To say whether this decision is right or wrong now would be hasty. Anything can be said only after studying the judgment”.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury came out strongly against the verdict, saying, "This is an abnormal situation that needs to be corrected.
"Elections, after all, are the direct contribution of our parliamentary democracy. Neither the judiciary nor the Election Commission participates in the elections. It is the political parties which participate. Without even talking to them, taking a decision like this, it is not a good sign," he said.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somanth Chatterjee also opposed the verdict, maintaining, "The Supreme Court has given its judgment, I don't think it is correct."
Welcoming the judgment, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said, "Babasaheb Ambedkar was also in favour of the right to reject."
In a landmark verdict, the apex court today held that citizens have the right to cast negative vote rejecting all candidates contesting polls, a decision which would encourage people, who are not satisfied with the contestants, to turn up for voting.
Alvi said while he respected the court's order, "It may create so many problems. Even the Representation of People Act will have to be amended. If 60 per cent people participate in the elections and in case all over the country they exercise their right to reject, then it will become difficult to form the government”.
"The Supreme Court said that the judgment will help clean up politics. But at the same time, the fact is that people vote on the basis of caste, region and religion. Awareness among people is needed to clean up the system," Alvi said.
In a guarded response, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, "We welcome any such move through which the system becomes stronger. It is the call of the institutions to maintain their own credibility and if the political system is not going to maintain its credibility, other institutions are going to take over."
She said, "There are no two opinions. Now whether a party chooses to do it or the court needs to intervene, that needs to be seen. But the system needs to be cleaned up. No body is saying no to that. Those who are saying so, they are worried about their MPs and MLAs losing the seats."
Image: Election officials seal an Electronic Voting Machine ' Photograph: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters