New Delhi: The Supreme Court verdict holding that voters have right to reject candidates contesting polls got a thumbs up from a cross section of the society who termed it as an important development in "evolution" of India`s democracy.
Former IPS officer and team Anna member Kiran Bedi said it was "a beginning of a new India" and a "tsunami for political parties".
"SC order of right to reject coming on d heels of transparency in accounts, decriminalisation of elected, is a tsunami for Political Parties!"
"It`s a Beginning of a new India. Decline of criminal, corrupt, communal politics. Thanku SC and Thanku media for letting ppl voices heard/seen (sic)," Bedi tweeted.
The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement, today held that citizens have right to cast negative vote rejecting all candidates contesting polls, a decision which would encourage people not satisfied with contestants to turn up for voting.
The court directed the Election Commission to provide `none of the above` (NOTA) option at the end of the list of candidates in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and the ballot papers to allow voters exercise the option of rejecting all those contesting polls.
Supporting the verdict Kamal A Mitra Chenoy, professor at JNU`s Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, said it would reduce alienation of voters who usually don`t come to vote as they are not satisfied with the candidates.
"The extra confidence of the political parties would be dented with this decision. People should know what their power is," he said.
Actor Anupam Kher, who had actively participated in Anna Hazare`s movement for implementation of Janlokpal Bill, hailed the decision and said it was a time to remember Hazare, who started it.
"Great News. Time to remember the man who started it all - Anna Hazare. Jai Ho," Kher tweeted.
The court had also observed that the concept of negative voting would bring a systemic change in the election process as the political parties will be forced to project clean candidates in polls.
Noted industrialist Gautam Singhania said the forthcoming elections will be interesting.
"If NOTA gets maximum votes then who will form the government? The forthcoming elections are surely going to be interesting," he said.
Stressing on the need to educate voters, former Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishnaswamy said they are intelligent and Election Commission has just launched an awareness campaign through electronic and print media.
"The decision is a very important development in evolution of our democracy and would have long term impact. If majority votes go to NOTA then it is a fit case for second round of elections. There is a need to implement this," he said.
Professor Jagdeep Chhokar, IIM Ahmedabad (retd) and founder member of National Election Watch, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said the full advantage of the judgement would depend if some concrete steps are taken.
"NOTA vote should be counted. If NOTA gets the highest vote, then the election should be cancelled and contesting candidates should be disqualified. And fresh election should be conducted and parties should be asked to field fresh candidates. And if in second election, only a candidate who gets more than 50 per cent should be declared elected," said Chhokar.
As per existing norms, if a voter goes to a polling booth and does not want to cast his vote for any candidate, he can sign a register saying he does not want to vote.