Author : Vijayanandh Vinayagam
Article 19 1(a) of our Constitution (Bible, Geetha, Quran of our Mother India) says, we people have rights to express our view "mutely" on any situations including electoral process in this democratic country from the day it was created have been kept maximum volume now after PIL (Public Interest Litigation) was filed by an NGO,People's Union for Civil Liberties has been passed by Supreme Court with the option of None Of The Above in Electronic Voting Machine/Ballot paper, I believe it will remind you the question papers where you go crazy humming Inky Pinky Ponky at the last minute of exam to select an option, but this is not a joke and something you wanted to know in depth to possess your rights.
What do they mean by NOTA?In a historic verdict that will empower the Indian voters, the Supreme Court (Sept 27, 2013) said, for a vibrant democracy electors must have the rights to reject all the candidates in the fray, with the option 'None of the Above' (NOTA) in voting machines. This simply consider the NOTA option as not willing to vote for any of the candidates in the constituency and counting as 'Negative vote' not compromising secrecy.
Facts you would love to know about NOTA!
What if NOTA gets higher votes?:
Election commission sources said the electoral law on the issue is silent, the new 'none of the above' option may virtually amount to an invalid vote and those getting the highest votes among the candidates will be declared as winner! to be very clear, if NOTA gets higher votes count, then the candidate with highest number of votes in that particular constituency will be selected. Perhaps, if most constituencies tend to get more NOTA counts, Election commission would be forced to go for another change say throw the candidates out and place new candidates. But this will have repercussions on many way like spending public money for re-election, hope EC will come up with some good recommendation later. Right now think about your rights and elect a ethical candidate.This will bring some 'Systematic change' in the election process as 'the political parties are forced/compelled to accept the will of the people (Pinch..!! Yeah it's true)
What made Law makers to zip their mouth?:
Yes, the National parties were cautiously reacted to the verdict, because they are now forced to nominate a sound candidate. For democracy to survive, it is essential that the best available men should be chosen as people's representatives for proper governance of the country. This can be best achieved through men of high moral and ethical values, who win the elections on a positive note. The voting machines in the parliament have 3 buttons "YES", "NO" and "ABSTAIN", Similarly, the NOTA button being sought for by the petitioners is exactly similar to the ABSTAIN button since by pressing that 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.
What's the stuff with 49-O?:
Yes, there is an option as 49(O)!! Most of them have not even bothered to ask for it/search for it. Under the existing provisions of section 49(O) of the Representation of People Act, a voter who after coming to a polling both does not want to cast his vote, has to inform the presiding officer of his intention not to vote, who in turn would make an entry in the relevant rule book after taking the signature of the said elector !!! That was funny??? this is arbitrary, unreasonable and violate Article 19. Ignore this now. Our Judiciary system went out of box to observe this violation and had given a chance altogether to maintain your secrecy under section 128 of RP Act.
Who gets the most advantage?:
Yes, they are called lazy voters, middle class, NRIs who wait for some positive signals from Finance minister at the time of budget every year and feel lazy or dissatisfied, whatever it might be. It's your right and do not allow any unscrupulous elements to impersonate the dissatisfied voter and cast a vote, be it a NEGATIVE one.! But don't ever turn up to polling booth to select only the NOTA option, but before being present there, do some home work on candidates/parties before blindly selecting an option.
Eventually, voters' participation explains the strength of the democracy. Lesser voter participation is the rejection of commitment to democracy slowly but definitely whereas larger participation is better for the democracy.
Sounds good ! Will they implement soon?
For the first time, Election commission will provide this 'NOTA' option button for 11 crores voters who will exercise their franchise in the five states going to polls beginning next month. Let's wait and see what changes it will bring in this big democratic nation in near future.
Earlier, the apex court had restrained people in custody from contesting elections. It has also ruled that MPs and MLAs would stand disqualified after being convicted of serious crimes. The government, however, has brought an ordinance seeking to negate the court's judgment striking down a provision in the electoral law that protected convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualifications
There are MANY MORE to come for the change here..!!!
The voters' participation in election is indeed the participation in the democracy itself. Non-participation caused frustration and disinterest, which is not a healthy sign of a growing democracy like INDIA.. JAI HIND !!!