‘Right to Reject’
This is in response to the letter 'Right to Reject' by Subhash Chandra Agarwal [Frontier, vol 47, No. 19, November 16-22, 2014]
It is inevitable in the first-past-the-post election system that the winning candidate may often poll less than 50% of all the polled votes and in many/some instances even less than 40-25%. So, only left parties have been campaigning for the introduction of proportional representation system either fully or in part [along with the fpp system—say on 50-50 basis]. While the NOTA [rejection] vote recording is a newly introduced good practice, the insistence that those who get less than the NOTA votes should be barred from contest for life time is ridiculous, to say the least. I have seen many candidates who lost even deposits in one election, repeatedly trying and then winning with slender or handsome margins in the next elections. That opportunity should not be taken away. In my childhood, one day I saw a person—his name was some Sarma or Shastri—being garlanded and paraded on an elephant jubilantly after an election [in Kurnool]. To my curious enquiries, it was revealed that that person was a good gentleman, but lost repeatedly in several elections and so began to make public declarations during his campaign that if he were to be defeated this time also, he had no alternative but to commit suicide; and the sympathetic public generously voted for him and rewarded him with victory!
I Mallikarjuna Sharma,
Advocate & Editor,
Law Animated World, Hyderabad
Sam Noumoff (1935-2014)
From his arrival at McGill University, Montreal in 1967 to his retirement in 2006, Sam was a champion of the marginalized and mistreated. He was a fierce advocate for colleagues in tenure, grievance, and appeal hearings. He was also a committed campus activist who supported progressive causes for 40 years, from his efforts to unionize faculty in the early 70s to his support for striking staff in recent years. Sam's activism was probably most visible when he was a member of the McGill Senate and represented the Faculty of Arts—a position he held for much of his time at McGill. An old-school orator with a sonorous voice and a passion for justice, Sam's speeches enlivened dull sessions and kept generations of administrators on their toes. But it was in his role as advisor, mentor, and advocate that Sam probably had his most profound influence. Dozens of students and academic and non-academic colleagues turned to Sam at desperate times, and he never refused assistance. He made McGill a more just, humane, and ethical place. He will be sorely missed. Sam died on 26 November at age 79, only weeks after the sudden death of his beloved wife, Francesca.
Rana Bose, Montreal, Canada
Vol. 47, No. 25, Dec 28, 2014 -Jan 3, 2015