* This refers to 'The power of negative voting' by Mini Kapoor (IE September 28). The Supreme Court's ruling, which ordered the introduction of a "none of the above" (NOTA) button in EVMs is very welcome. This empowers voters and enables them to exercise their democratic right while maintaining secrecy. Earlier, voters were not able to cast a secret ballot vote if they intended to reject all candidates. Now that people can choose NOTA, it will create moral pressure on political parties to field candidates that are more widely acceptable, even though the choice to reject will not impact the outcome of an election. If the right to reject were to have an impact on an election's outcome, it could threaten and destabilise democracy and the unity of our country. It could strengthen separatists and extremists in sensitive states by reducing the legitimacy of the political process.

Ajitdada V. Kadam


Moral pressure

* This refers to 'Pressure of the button' by S.Y. Quraishi (IE,October 3). The "none of the above" (NOTA) option, which voters can now exercise in secret, is a positive and much awaited electoral reform. Nominating candidates on the basis of caste, religion, connections and wealth is common practice in most political parties. Worse still is the practice of fielding candidates charged with serious crimes. A large number of people don't exercise their vote, simply because they don't want to choose between the devil and the deep sea. Yet, by not voting, their forfeited right is vulnerable to appropriation and misuse. By not voting, a citizen also feels detached and alienated from the political process. By directing the Election Commission to introduce the NOTA

button on EVMs, the Supreme Court has provided this section of the people the right to also be heard. To a certain extent, it will force political parties to nominate candidates who are more widely acceptable. The SC judgment is a significant step towards encouraging democratic participation.

... contd.

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