4 May : 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.