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Setting Aside EC Notification, SC Says NOTA Can't be Permitted in Rajya Sabha Polls

NOTA was introduced in India following the 2013 Supreme Court directive in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs Union of India judgment.

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Updated:August 21, 2018, 11:04 AM IST
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Setting Aside EC Notification, SC Says NOTA Can't be Permitted in Rajya Sabha Polls
Picture for Representation. (Photo: PTI)
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that None of the Above Option (NOTA) will not applicable as a ballot option in Rajya Saha polls. The court further said that NOTA is to be used for direct elections only.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud has set aside the Election Commission's notification allowing NOTA option in the ballot papers for Rajya Sabha polls.

The apex court had questioned the poll panel's notification and said that NOTA was meant to be exercised by individual voters in direct polls.

The order comes in the wake of a petition filed by Gujarat Congress leader Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, who contended that the practice allowed room for horse trading and cross-voting.

“The system of NOTA makes the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote nugatory… and cannot be made applicable in Rajya Sabha elections. The use of NOTA cannot be sanctioned by way of the impugned circular which has the effect of overriding the provisions of Article 80(4), the provisions of The Representation of the People Act 1951 and the Conduct of Election Rules 1961,” Parmar had submitted before the court.

Parmar was the Congress chief whip of the Gujarat Assembly during the last Rajya Sabha polls, in which the party had fielded sitting MP Ahmed Patel.

The top court had earlier said by introducing NOTA, the poll panel was legitimising the act of not voting.

NOTA was introduced in India following the 2013 Supreme Court directive in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs Union of India judgment. Thus, India became the 14th country to institute negative voting.

However, NOTA in India is not a ‘right to reject’. The candidate with the maximum votes wins the election irrespective of the number of NOTA votes polled.

NOTA button saw its debut in the 2013 Assembly elections held in four States — Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and the Union Territory, Delhi.



| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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