New Delhi: If the Supreme Court verdict on negative voting is implemented, India will become the 14th country to adopt this practice.
In a path-breaking judgement, the court today held that voters have a right to reject all candidates contesting polls in a constituency by pressing a button for negative vote, saying this would compel political parties to field "sound" candidates who are known for their integrity.
The court directed the Election Commission to make arrangements by introducing `None of the Above` (NOTA) option in the Electronic Voting Machines at the end of the column containing the names of the contestants.
It listed the countries where negative voting is in vogue: France, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Ukraine, Chile, Bangladesh, State of Nevada, Finland, the United States of America, Colombia, Spain and Sweden.
It also said that the voting machines in the Parliament have "three buttons, namely, YES, NOES, and ABSTAIN".
"Therefore, it can be seen that an option has been given to the members to press the ABSTAIN button. Similarly, the NOTA button being sought for by the petitioners is exactly similar to the ABSTAIN button since by pressing the NOTA button the voter is in effect saying that he is abstaining from voting since he does not find any of the candidates to be worthy of his vote," a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said.