Letter of 05.05.2004 to CEC. EC Legal Secretary
confirmed to me today this option exists.


Chief Election Commissioner
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi –110001

Sub:        Right to responsibly not vote?
Ref: My letter of 03.05.04 (enclosed)

The Commission's website has a Handbook for Presiding
Officers in which Chapter XX is about 'Electors
Deciding Not to Vote'. According to this, if an
elector decides not to record his vote he shall not be
forced or compelled to do so, the remark 'Refused to
Vote' shall be entered against his name with signature
of Presiding Officer, and his signature or thumb
impression shall also be obtained against the remark.
The last, it is mentioned, is under rule 49Q, which I
have not been able to find on the website.

It appears to me that we do have, individually, the
right to responsibly not vote and, collectively, the
right – or at least opportunity – to know how many of
us exercised it.

If this is the case (and especially since 'None of
These' has been demanded as an option on the ballot
from time to time and was even suggested by EC this
year), I seek to know:
(1)        Why is 'Refused to Vote' not an option in EVMs /
(2)        What steps have been taken ever to protect
electors' right to responsibly not vote?
(3)        Without clarification of possibility of
responsible refusal to vote, are not exhortations to
vote tantamount to compelling those who might have
decided not to vote?

I seek with urgency, as per my letter under reference,
clarification about (a) anything else I need to know
to responsibly refuse to vote and (b) alternative
procedures for the same for electors assigned to
booths at which violence is expected, as in case of
Yamuna Pushta.

I will come to EC offices today to deliver this letter
in person and wait for response thereto.

Yours sincerely,

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner

cc: MPISG convenors, etc, in continuation of meeting
of 04.05.04

letter of 03.05.04 at:


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