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Nepali voters will enjoy the ‘right to reject’ henceforth

Supreme court of Nepal, file photo.
Supreme court of Nepal, file photo.

KATHMANDU, Nepal–In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court (SC) on Sunday has given voters the right to cast negative votes against the candidates contesting either the parliamentary or local elections.

With this decision, Nepal has become the 15th country to introduce such provision in the world.

Only on last month, neighboring India introduced such system after Indian apex court ordered its Election Commission to allow voters to cast negative votes.

Responding to a writ petition lodged jointly by advocate Swagat Nepal and Bhairaja Rai, a joint bench of Justices Kalyan Shrestha and Prakash Wasti issued the order.

Henceforward, the ballot papers in elections will now have a separate option ‘none of the above’ to allow the voters to cast negative votes.

The SC in its ruling has also asked the government and the Election Commission to bring laws in this effect.

Member of the civil society and other stakeholder agency like Election Commission have lauded the SC’s decision, stating that such a practice would help mature democracies.

The apex court in its order has asked the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), Election Commission (EC), and the Ministry of Law Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA) to assure negative voting provision in the electoral process.

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