A [Public Interest Litigation] PIL has urged the Bombay High Court to direct the Election Commission to introduce electoral reforms by making a provision for “negative vote” in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) during elections.
The PIL filed by Thane resident Mahesh Bedekar also urged the court to ensure that secrecy of the “negative vote” is maintained during elections as it is not being done under the existing rules.
To begin with, the petitioner prayed that “negative vote” may be allowed in complete secrecy in the forthcoming civic elections to Thane Municipal Corporation slated to be held in February 2012.
The petitioner is challenging Rule 49(o) of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 on the ground of denial of “secrecy of vote” and its conflict with Rule 18 of Election Rules in Bombay Provisional Municipal Corporation BPMC Act.
The PIL argued that under the existing rules, when a voter chooses not to cast his/her vote and informed the same to Presiding Officer, his identity is revealed to all including agents of political parties who are supervising the election on behalf of their candidate. The voter thus is in danger of adverse impact due to his negative voting.
The petitioner, therefore, submitted that Rule 49(O) may suitably be modified to maintain the secrecy of negative voting and protect the identity of voters, who intend to express their disbelief in the contesting candidates by not voting in favour of any of them.
The PIL will come up for hearing when the court reopens after the summer vacations next week, the petitioner’s lawyer, Mr S.M. Gorwadkar, said.