Amid a demand by Team Anna for radical poll reforms, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi says he is not in favour of ‘Right to Recall' or ‘Right to Reject' elected representatives, warning that any such electoral rule will “destabilise” the country.
Opposing any move to have a ‘Right to Recall' as in many developed countries, Mr. Quraishi said it may not work in India given the size of the country.
“It's not possible in India...It will destabilise the country, everywhere where there is discontent, people will start recalling,” Mr. Quraishi told Karan Thapar on the ‘Devil's Advocate' programme on CNN-IBN.
Prone to misuse
The inclusion of any right to reject proposal in voting, said Mr. Quraishi, could be misused to put out an unintended political message, especially in places such as Kashmir and North-Eastern states where people already feel alienated.
“We have to see the implication of everything for the country,” he said.
He advocated introduction of 49-O button in Electronic Voting Machines instead which would help voters to express their unhappiness over the candidates.
“Instead of a negative force of right to reject, why don't you select a good candidate instead,” he added.
On the proposal of introducing a clause on Right to Reject, Mr. Quraishi said even though the Election Commission had supported introduction of 49-O (rule) button in EVMs for voters to express their displeasure over candidates, the proposal would lead to more frequent elections.
49-O rule of The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 describes the procedure to be followed when a valid voter decides not to cast his vote, and decides to record this fact.
“Our main fear is that if we start rejecting all the candidates, we will have another election and people already complain of election fatigue,” he said.
To meet Hazare
The CEC is, however, open to discussion with social activist Anna Hazare, who has suggested that if candidates spending crores in elections are rejected by the voters, it will discourage them from overspending and would control election expenditure.
“We have an open mind on this. If a proposal leads to that larger good, then we must consider it. I would like to discuss this interesting point and see what are its implications,” said Mr. Quraishi, disclosing that he has scheduled a meeting with Mr. Hazare later this month on the issue.