Right to Vote is Sacrosanct by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (JULY 19, 2007)
The National Election Commission has done well to clarify a major point of law. It has said that no party has a right to issue a whip to its members not to vote in a presidential or other election.
Ruling on a memorandum from the NDA the commission has rightly observed that forbidding somebody from casting his/her vote amounts to the violation of IPC 171-C.
Disgusted by daily revelations about alleged misdemeanor of the UPA and NDA candidates the Third Front had asked its constituents to refrain from voting for anyone at all. This was meant as a protest against the falling quality of character of candidates for the highest position in the land.
It may be recalled that as the washing of dirty linen in public began gathering momentum the All India Milli Council had proposed an alternative name for the position that was above any blame. Had the idea been taken up in earnest and Justice Ahmadi’s candidature been accepted as a compromise candidate we would have been spared this unpleasant turn of events.
Be as it may, the nation should be grateful to the Election Commission to clarify an important point. It has further explained that members of the Electoral College do have a right to refrain from voting on their own. In case such choice is made without coercion it does not amount to violation of any law.
Mohammed Ataur Rahman