The apex court held that if the right to vote is statutory right, then the right to reject candidate is fundamental right of speech and expression under Constitution. Negative voting would lead to systemic change in polls and political parties will be forced to project clean candidates, the bench observed.
The right to reject all the candidates was also proposed during the previous general elections, but most of the political parties stood against the proposal which then could not be implemented. However, the NOTA button will be available for voters in the upcoming polls.
The court explained that the implementation of NOTA option is similar to the ‘abstain option’ given to ministers during voting in the parliament. The Election Commission has been advised to immediately start implementing NOTA button on Electronic Voting Machines and request the government to provide necessary assistance to complete the process in time.