Right to reject an interesting possibility: CEC

Last Updated: Monday, December 26, 2011 - 17:51

New Delhi: Team Anna`s demand for
incorporating Right to Reject a candidate in Parliament and
assembly elections is an "interesting possibility", feels
Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi.

He, however, finds that their plea for Right to Recall can
lead to political instability.

He also says that nothing should be done to weaken
institutions of democracy and Parliamentary supremacy should
not be questioned.

Quraishi said the Commission has a "mixed" feeling on the
plea for Right to Reject.

"If it leads to too many elections, we have our
reservations. Anna group has met us. They told us that Anna`s
point of view is that money power is a major issue and that is
disturbing everybody including EC," he told a news agency in an
interview.

Besides, if the Commission is not able to debar criminals
in the absence of a law to that effect, at least people can
reject such a candidate who has spent crores of rupees. Their
disqualification from contesting will be a deterrent.

Quraishi said, "Now there is an interesting possibility
there. The issue needs to be examined.

He, however, added that there will be many legal issues
subsequently which could be gone into.

In this connection he said the Commission has suggested
inclusion of a button in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)
that provides for the choice of "none of the above" candidates
for electors, which option was earlier available under the
ballot paper system.

On the issue of Right to Recall, Quraishi said, "In a way,
we already have the Right to Recall. Every five years you can
recall the candidates. People are smart. They throw out the
government they don`t like and reject the representatives who
did not live up to their expectations. They do that regularly.

"Now to start the practice of recalling before the term
will destabilise the country," he said.

He was replying to a question on Team Anna`s campaign for
including a provision for the Right to Recall representatives
by people who are disenchanted with their MPs and MLAs.

"You can`t keep the sword of uncertainty hanging over
every MP or MLA. They will not be able to work. They will
indulge in populism and their political rivals will never let
them be in peace right from the day of their election,"
Quraishi said.

He gave an example of a loser in an election who instead
of going for an election petition will go for a recall. He
also said in a constituency where four lakh people have voted
for the winning candidate, how many would be needed to
dislodge the winner - 5,000, 10,000 or 50,000 . It should not
be less than the number who voted for him.

"And it is not only right of the representative to last his
full term. It is also the right of those four lakh voters who
chose him. Second, whatever is the number 10,000, 15,000 one
lakh, who will verify the signatures. It is impossible,? he
said.

"Further how shall it be ensured that those who signed
have voluntarily done so and not under coercion or illegal
inducement," he added.

The Chief Election Commissioner also ruled out referendum
as a possibility for recall of legislators.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 26, 2011 - 17:51

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