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Report No. 255

C. Recommendations

11.12. Given the underlying premise of the Supreme Court's decision in its 2013 NOTA judgment and the ECI's demand for introducing NOTA516 was protecting the secrecy of the voter who wanted to express dissent, the justificatory rationale for introducing the right to reject has not been made out.

516. As former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Qureshi notes, "The EC's reason for demanding the option was not to institute the right to reject. It was to ensure the secrecy of the voter wanting to make a choice that amounts to abstention, and also to ensure that nobody casts a bogus vote in his place." Qureshi, supra note 501

11.13. Good governance, which is purportedly the motivating factor behind the right to reject, can be successfully achieved without causing the complications introducing the right to reject will entail. Efforts should instead be made to implement the already existing provisions on decriminalising politics and increasing political awareness; and introduce other provisions such as inner party transparency and election finance reform.

11.14. The preference of other alternatives to improve the quality of elected representatives instead of favouring the right to reject can be seen from the above comparative practices, which show that Colombia is one of the only countries that has such a provision. Most countries with NOTA-like provisions only count and declare the number of such votes, instead of factoring it in the final election results.

11.15. For all these reasons, the Law Commission currently rejects the extension of the NOTA principle to introduce a right to reject the candidate and invalidate the election in cases where a majority of the votes have been polled in favour of the NOTA option. However, the issue might be reconsidered again in the future.

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