In a landmark judgement, Nepal’s Supreme Court has given voters the right to cast negative votes during the parliamentary or local elections. The court in the verdict yesterday also directed the government and the Election Commission to introduce laws to this effect so the voters can reject candidates, weeks after India introduced “None of the above” option. A joint bench of justices Kalyan Shrestha and Prakash Wasti issued the order responding to a writ petition filed by two advocates. With this decision, the ballot papers in coming elections will now have a separate option “none of the above” to allow voters to cast negative votes. The court in its order has asked the Prime Minister’s Office, Election Commission and the Ministry of Law Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA) to ensure negative voting provision in the electoral process.
The court’s spokesperson Shreekanta Paudel said the court order ensures the right to reject candidates if the voters do not want the candidates contesting polls elected to public office.
Citing the interim Constitution, which upholds sovereignty of the people, the writ petitioners had demanded that voters must be allowed to cast negative votes in election. “The current provision infringes on the people’s right to reject a candidate,” the writ petition said.