New Delhi

Indians for the first time will be able to reject all the candidates when casting their vote, the country’s top court ruled, saying it will improve democracy.

India’s Supreme Court asked the Election Commission to give voters a button to select “none of the above candidates” on voting machines ahead of next year’s election, said Sanjay Parikh, a lawyer for the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

“We’ll be able to eliminate so many people by this process and empower voters,” Parikh said outside court. “Many times I’ve said no, I can’t cast my vote, and come back home.”

The reputation of India’s politicians has been damaged by graft scandals that led to protests in parliament, repeatedly disrupting the legislature, as well as rising criminality.

The number of lawmakers charged with offenses has more than doubled in the last 15 years. Almost a third of federal and state legislators face charges that include murder, rape and kidnapping, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms.

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