There are a number of apprehensions floated against the Supreme Court directive. While most of these are floated by people who are scared to get affected by the rule, it is necessary to understand the merit of the arguments at individual level. I am trying to pick up each of such arguments I came across and express my opinion on them.
In 2009 Indian Govt. had rejected such an idea saying elections are to 'elect' and not to 'reject'.
I do not find merit in the argument by the government. Our fundamental rights accord every citizen the right to free speech and expression.Providing a 'none of the above' option on EVMs only complements our existing rights.
We should also keep in mind that Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961already provides for persons to register a negative vote. However, to do so, the person must approach the presiding office. Not only does this make the process cumbersome, it also affects voter secrecy.
Therefore,what has been provided for in law is now only being converted to an option on the EVM, with the additional benefit of voter secrecy.
NOTA will lead to loss of public money due to repeat voting
Actually, 'repeat voting' will not be an outcome of the current system because negative votes will not be counted, and whichever candidate secures the maximum positive votes will be declared the winner.
Negative votes will only demonstrate the popularity of the candidates, or otherwise, by giving an avenue to voters to register their disapproval.
Indian voters go by the face value and not the merit of the candidate
I disagree that in most cases they go by the face value and not the merit of the candidate, not by the policies he has promised to implement or the agenda declared. All voters have their individual priorities and they take decisions based on their own criteria. The Constituent Assembly placed tremendous faith in the electorate by choosing to accord Universal Adult Franchise to the people of our country. It is something we should be proud of.
We should have faith in the collective wisdom of the electorate to take the right decisions.
Judiciary getting involved in Governance issues may not be a healthy sign
I would rather say, Judicial Activism is a wake up call for Parliament to get its act together. In this particular ruling i.e. NOTA, the Supreme Court has only commented on the constitutional validity of the issue. This is precisely the court's mandate. The same can be said about the Supreme Court's ruling on issues such as de-criminalisation of politics i.e. striking down section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act. In these particular instances, therefore, the court is simply interpreting the Constitution.
In any case, such 'judicial activism' only comes about when the legislators do not respond to public opinion and leave a vacuum for other authorities to step in. This should be a wake up call for Parliament to get its act together.