Civil Procedure Code (CPC)

Right of not voting is possible only by legislation


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Election Commissioner V S Sampath on Monday said that he supported an elector's right not to vote but this would have to be given shape through a legislation.


"ECI is in support of providing citizens the right not to vote like their democratic right to vote ... but a separate legislation is required to enforce it," Election Commissioner V S Sampath told reporters in Shimla today.

"And you know that right (to bring a legislation) is not with us," he said.

Sampath, who was here to review poll preparedness in Himachal Pradesh, however, said the EC would continue to make efforts in this direction.

He said that at present a person can write down on a piece of paper and give it to polling booth officials that he is not interested in voting, but to provide this facility on EVM (Electronic Voting Machine), a separate law is required.

Sampath, who became Election Commissioner after Navin Chawla was elevated to post of Chief Election Commissioner on retirement of Gopalaswami on 20th April, said that it an effort to ensure voting rights of vulnerable sections of society, the EC this time went for "vulnerability mapping".

On the basis of past records and inputs provided by officials, areas inhabited by vulnerable section of society who had been deprived of voting rights by "dominant" sections had been marked and security officials directed to facilitate their journey to the polling booth, he said.

Sampath said the Commission would ponder if more steps were required than the existing one to nab a candidate giving "false" affidavit about his or her wealth and other details like criminal records.

When asked as to why does not the Commission devise some mechanism to make it mandatory for the candidate to reveal the source of his or her income, which in many cases multiplies many-fold in between two elections, he said though government agencies like Income Tax takes care of these things, the poll body would also discuss it.

On keeping people with criminal background out of elections, he said convicted persons by law are banned but a new aspect was being witnessed in the current poll that such persons are getting their spouse to stand for them and this aspect needs to be discussed.

In reply to a question on the reason for low voter turnout in the ongoing Parliamentary elections, Sampath said the Commission would discuss it after the polls if it was because of excessive heat or some other reasons. 

What are your views?


what about this view ? : "voting should be spedificaly enumerated as a fundamental duty under art. 51-A of the constitution. it should be made compulsory,  and necessary provisions for its enforcement should be made."


Legal Practioner

Last ten yrs this option that is "right not to vote" i.e in the form of "non of the above clause" is substaintially suggested by EC but  no legislator is ready to speak or take steps in this direction ; only reason real stumbling  face of our democarcy will surface. If we are going to wait for a legislation to enacted, that's never going to be a reality. Legislation cannot be a solution for every problem. Take a on line poll throughout in  India. If the result is positive EC should be given authority to implement it.   


The poor turnout to vote in elections is not because the people are not aware of their rights or responsibilities but because in many constistuencies undesirable candidates are proposed by the political parties. Out of frustration they refrain from casting their vote. While voting can be made compulsory there should be option for the public to cast their votes for none of the candidates. This facility is not provided in the EVM at present & there is no point in enacting any legislation. Above all there should be minimum qualification and standards prescribed to stand for election as for other jobs which will prevent any tom, d**k and harry from contesting elections and people will get a chance to choose the best among the lot. This will automatically increase the turnout to say atleast 70-80 %. Slowly by improving the methods of voting like E voting etc we can touch the cent % mark in due time.

A lawsuit seeking compulsory voting had come up before the Supreme Court last month Hon'ble court dismissed the lawsuit on the point that greater voter turnout could be brought about by creating awareness rather than enacting laws.


completly agree with mr. shree. in my opinion , compulsory voting and negative voting both should be provided. so far supreme court's decision is concerned it is not a bar on making legislation.

Practicing lawyer(B.Com LL.M in Business law )

Respected Members of the Forum

Please correct me if I m wrong and give more guidance.
“No vote No right to live in India” I think like that. the citizenship should be cancelled in India for those people who r not voting……That’s the another point of view. But Shree sir I am a member of some social organization and V are doing tremendous job for upliftment of poor and Adivasis but u know what here, the people want luxurious show.
                  Tell me how V should contest the elections and join any political party. BJP the political party was ready to give me ticket in Nagarpalica elections but I m sorry to say one ST uneducated candidate chosen for the ward.
                  Our laws are providing lots of rights as compare to our duties. Recently Mumbaikers have disappointed us greatly by very low turn out of voting. If u love ur country please vote and slowly and surely u can make difference to change our all defective system.
                   Voting should be compulsory in any way. God bless Hindustan

Dear Members,

                              The great things about India is Freedom of Speech and Expression: perhaps this freedom was encouraged by the poem of Rabindra nath Tagore "Where the minds are free from Fear". So far so good and I would not want a change on the rights of Vote. And you know, I dont appreciate people pastering me to do what I dont like to do.


There is one more things that I would like to share with the members. Our Election systems is such that, even though you vote for your Candidate whom you think is best suited, on reaching the Parliament, he may be marginalized or side lined etc. And out of blues some one you have never seen or heard of will emerged as the PM etc, and rule this Country. So where is your precious vote and your precious  rights? In America the systems is such that every Americans  knows who is going to be the President and vote for it. Here our systems is somerhing like a blind man trying to catch a sparrow. Things are not certain and we swim to the shore of that shore of uncertainity.




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