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Updated: October 17, 2011 01:11 IST

Right to reject, recall will destabilise country: CEC

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Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Quraishi during an interactive session at the Indian Women's Press Corps, in New Delhi on Feb. 04, 2011. Photo: V. Sudershan
The Hindu
Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Quraishi during an interactive session at the Indian Women's Press Corps, in New Delhi on Feb. 04, 2011. Photo: V. Sudershan

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.

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The right to recall may be impractical.But the right to reject is a good option to correct the corrupt system. No doubt there are many good candidates an all parties. But has it made any difference where there is a system of party high command and a right to issue a whip ? We need to change the system, not the govt which are formed on basis of unethical,opportunistic post poll alliances.
How can the public protest against a corrupt system which has full state might with it. 1.The naxalite violent way as happend in Russia and France. 2.Peacefully on the lines of Gandhi and Anna.Gandhis breaking the British laws may have been termed negative by the British.As Anna's movement has been termed negative by the current govt. Right to reject is the most peaceful and democratic way to protest as we are doing by propogating 49-0.
Anything which effects the politicians and bureaucrats adversely is termed negative.

from:  Rakesh Goel
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 11:06 IST

we must have right to reject a candidate. India is democratic country,
today if we have this it will help in reducing corruption in politics
and also in decriminalization of politics. politicians need not be
dictating us having assurance that if they contest they will win even if
they are criminals. they must fear aam janta. Right to reject will bring
this fear in their mind and it will attract good people in politics
after the assurance that people want to elect the one who is deserving.

from:  sonali singh
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011 at 17:44 IST

We indirectly possess the right to reject.b'coz if we don't want to vote for any candidate then we should not go the voting centre.that can also show the rejection by people of india.

from:  Vivek kumar
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 19:57 IST

The worries of CEC is genuine but we have to take risks he mentioned in order to get a good govt. and good leaders. Indian democracy is already facing a lot of sarcasm due to unrestricted entry of illiterates, criminals and obvious misfits. so this option of right to reject and recall is a ray of hope to our dying democracy.this right enables us to reject undesirables and to choose most suitable one.It will make political parties to think twice before nominating any candidate.though initially their will be hurdles, may be twice or thrice rejection,loss of money and time but the outcome will be what we are waiting for.

from:  Gajendra Singh
Posted on: Oct 18, 2011 at 16:28 IST

All the noise that Anna Hazare and his supporters make is not worth much -- they seem to be overcome by all sorts of illusions basically because they have assumed themselves to be morally superior and intellectually superior than all other people in the nation. The matter of fact is that there are more decent and more committed people in the country who are striving very hard silently for making India a better country. Indian ground realities are to be evaluated from where this nation was originally before independence and as to where this nation must not go in the future. Or else all unrealistic and dangerous propositions will be put forth by self-obsessed people which are not relevant to the nation, at least at this point of time.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Oct 18, 2011 at 12:48 IST

Quershi is not an authority on elections, his views are only supporting the politicians, right to recall & right to reject will put the onus on the candidates and it will make them work for the constituency rather than their leaders, so need to consider his views.

from:  Xavier surender
Posted on: Oct 18, 2011 at 10:32 IST

In which world our CEC is living ! I think he is making these statements with out
thinking and without proper preparation. The very purpose of asking for the right
to reject and right to recall is to keep the elected politicians on their toes - to
deliver what they promise. CEC's statement that people will recall if they are not
satisfied with the actions of the elected representatives is meaningless. Instead of
discouraging such a move he should be encouraging it. Persons with dynamic
views and have the courage to deliver should be appointed as CEC. Otherwise we
end up having people like Mr.Quraishi occupying the post.

from:  R. Pasupuleti
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 18:51 IST

How will CEC know if all citizens are not happy with the representative? In a country like India, there is only one way one can as the citizens if you are happy with the representative. Elections! This is a costly affair.

Citizens who are not happy should sit in front of the representative's house and demand what they want.

from:  Sharat
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 17:51 IST

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y Quraishi's opinions on a proposal for 'recall of elected representatives' under electoral reforms only show a lack of will or urge to protect the rights of voters. For whom he speaks is clear and his intentions can be guessed. His observation that "where there is discontent, people will start recalling" is un-understandable, for this is precisely why the provision has to be enacted. His apprehension that such a rule would "destabilise the country, given its size" contradicts his own admission that 'right to recall' is the rule in many developed countries, probably irrespective of size of the nation. Arguments like "more frequent elections and people complain of electoral fatigue" are no reasons to deny the voters their right to be governed to their will. The CEC's statement that the voters 'could misuse' the rule is objectionable, for our experience is that it is the 'representatives of the people' who share greater misuse of various constitutional provisions and other rules. Quraishi's question to the voters, namely, "why don't you select a good candidate?", is simply impracticable with the Commission's incapacity to provide all the necessary bio-data on each candidate to the requirement of the voters and the predominance of corrupts and criminals contesting the elections.

from:  P.R.V.Raja
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 15:10 IST

Mr. Quraishi has brought out some valid points especially his concern
regarding J&K and North Eastern states. We however, should not blindly
reject any new idea, especially when such an idea can bring a paradigm
shift in the very thinking and selection of candidates by all
political parties. It is good that Mr. Quraishi has an open mind on
the whole issue. We have to look at the long term benefits of such
ideas and we should not hesitate to experiment with such ideas of
National importance. There may be many hurdles and doubts about such
ideas especially, when they are radical in nature. We especially, the
Election Commission should in fact be in the fore front to bring in
such changes. We may have to conduct many reelections in the initial
stages for a short time but the political parties will be forced to
find eligible persons sooner or later. Such a change will attract
many deserving people who do not wish to enter politics otherwise and
there will be a quantum change for better!

from:  Jayaraman
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 14:06 IST

As per the constitution, India is constituted of its citizens. Therefore, on all aspects it should be the collective decision of citizens that should be of prime importance. CEC is a bureaucratic organ of the state and it should keep advising people on their decisions. This also means that CEC is not empowered to take any decision that goes against those approved by majority of citizens - such a stand may render CEC's position as unconstitutional.

For the citizens of this country, it is their relationship with representative that should be held supreme. If the representative loses the confidence of the majority, and if the citizens collectively are in favour of recalling the representative, CEC should spring into action to see that fresh elections are called for, in such a manner that the country is not destabilised. CEC can reform itself or the election procedure to see that nation's finances are not in jeopardy while conducting such mid-term by-polls.

from:  CK Raju
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 09:46 IST

CEC is right. Keeping in view the nature of politics and the innate
divisions in the society, these options go against the principle of
representative form of parliamentary democracy. Secondly, the options
might look promising in case of small nations but for a country of
India's size, it will just mean, increased expenses, litigations, more
elections pushing country into anarchy. More serious issue of
separatists using the option to show their discontent against the Govt
in areas like Kashmir and Nagaland. The focus should be on making
politics clean by having non-corrupt and non-criminal candidates and
voter sensitization to increase awareness about elections and
importance of their 'vote'.

from:  sanjay
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 09:25 IST

They are for public. By winning election they have to serve for people with better governace. So why to worry on this right to reject or recall. Once elected they have to get good grade. Failing is the exam result and they should be recalled and let the second winner in that election get a chance (with out going for repoll). For the first election no reject option. After election there should be option for recall otherwise we will endup with corrupt or inefficient government. Reject option in the next election against previous ruling party and opposite party (let voter decide on these two). For independent cannot have reject option on their first attempt. Let them contest as independent. The main party head will think this and make the party elected members to do better, otherwise know the outcome soon.
My humble request for all thinking people is to fill the gaps and not on negative aspect of suggestions. Think differntly and bring positive even from negative.

from:  Lakshmanan
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 00:52 IST

Right to recall might destabilize but right to reject or sec 49-0 will not as it gives the voters a choice to express their discontent with the quality of representatives instead of going for the least bad.

from:  mahesh
Posted on: Oct 16, 2011 at 22:20 IST

Indian Babudom is the biggest opponent of any reforms, as they love to
share public money loot with the politicians.

from:  Nilamkumar Buch
Posted on: Oct 16, 2011 at 22:13 IST

Right to Recall is very good Idea. Atleast then these representatives who show their face only once in 5 years concentrate on development activities to satisfy people. The fate of villages which The Back Bones of our nation seeing "0" development. Poll reforms definitely will have double impact 1) Educated people will start voting, they obstain from voting because they dont find suitable candidate. 2) The elected representatives will start concentrate on developing their constituency. This is the high time for eminent people debate this. I am really waiting for The Hindu to publish an editorial with props & cons of such reforms.

from:  Venkat Reddy Uppala
Posted on: Oct 16, 2011 at 22:01 IST

The right to reject is fundamental to the health of our democracy.
Unless political parties field good candidates, our country have no hope to be rid of criminals in politics. Pressure can be exerted only through rejection of candidates -- and the candidates must not be allowed to contest the re-election. Fielding the same candidate from multiple constituencies must also be banned.
Combined with these, our legislators must be allowed to voice independent opinion and vote according to the wishes of their constituency rather than political leadership of their party. If a whip has to be enforced, the issue under voting must be in the electoral manifesto with no dilution or change of the party position as described in the manifesto.

from:  Thomas George
Posted on: Oct 16, 2011 at 21:43 IST

May be Election Commissioner do not know the existing political conditions in India it seems. He is advising to choose good Candidates.
A candidate investing crores of rupees, in election how can be a good candidate. There is no political party either to produce good candidates. The only way is to recall, or reject.

Posted on: Oct 16, 2011 at 21:33 IST
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