EC for voters’ right to reject candidates

New Delhi : A day after meeting Team Anna members on poll reforms, the Election Commission Tuesday said it had already proposed to the government to introduce ‘none of the above’ buttons on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Responding to another concern expressed by Anna Hazare’s associates on growing criminalisation of politics, the commission said in a statement that a proposal made in 1998 for debarring those candidates from contesting polls against whom charges have been framed by a court for heinous crimes is at an advanced stage of consideration by the government.

Team Anna members Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kiran Bedi met officials of the commission Monday.

The delegation made several suggestions, including those relating to right to recall and reject candidates, checking corruption in electoral process and preventing criminalisation of politics.

The statement added that Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi informed the delegation about the recent country-wide consultations on electoral reforms taken up jointly by the Election Commission and the law ministry.

Stating that the ‘right to reject’ will require an amendment in the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the commission pointed out that it may lead to more frequent elections.

Quraishi also said the demand for ‘right to reject’ would only have an impact if the voting percentages were really high.

He added that the right to recall provision would bring instability as rival candidates could start such a campaign immediately after losing an election.

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