Monday, 24 October 2011

Right to Reject!

Right to reject is a novel idea as an electoral reform of most radical nature in India and I must say a very optimistic one for democracies. Right to reject is simply to have a “None of the above” option for voters, which means that the voter rejects all of the candidates and is not willing to give his vote to anyone of the listed candidates. Well, what happens then?

If in a constituency this “None of the above” candidate receives maximum number of votes this represents general consensus of the persons voting in that constituency against choosing anyone of the listed candidates. In such a case, all of the candidates who contested will be rejected and will not be able to contest in the election again.

Team Anna is not the first team to have raised voice in support of bringing ‘Right to Reject’ bill as an electoral reform. As early as in 2001, National Election Commission proposed the same because of rising general support for this and since then many NGOs in India have filed this plea repeatedly.

In 2004 too National Election commission re-proposed this idea but it did not get much support. Very recently though, in spite of rising pressure by Team Anna and other NGOs for radical poll reforms, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi opined against ‘Right to Recall' or ‘Right to Reject' elected representatives, warning that any such electoral rule will “destabilise” the country. He suggests that India is such a big democracy that such a reform is not likely to work. Moreover, he has also expressed that in constituencies like Jammu & Kashmir which are already suffering from much agitation and where conducting an election is already a nightmare; such reforms are only going to cause more alienation!

What do you think of such a reform? Do you concur with Mr Quraishi?