NOTA cannot be allowed in Rajya Sabha polls: SC

Posted on by Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday overruled an Election Commission notification, saying that NOTA (None Of The Above) option cannot be allowed in Rajya Sabha elections.
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.

“It is impermissible for the EC to have prescribed NOTA option in RS elections, it being an indirect means for proportional representation of States in RS,” the top court observed.

Today’s verdict was in response to a plea filed last month by Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, who was the Congress’ chief whip in the Gujarat assembly during the last Rajya Sabha polls, where he had challenged the poll panel’s notification, which had allowed NOTA option in ballot papers.

The Gujarat Congress leader had alleged that if the NOTA provision was allowed in the Rajya Sabha polls, it would encourage “horse-trading and corruption”.

The apex court, while hearing Parmar’s plea, had questioned the Election Commission’s notification allowing none of the above (NOTA) option in the ballot papers for the Rajya Sabha polls saying it was meant to be exercised by individual voters in direct polls.

“Why should a Constitutional court be party to an unconstitutional act … If a person does not vote, he could be expelled by the party. But by introducing NOTA, you (EC) are legitimizing the act of not voting,” the court had said.

The option of NOTA for Lok Sabha and assembly elections was prescribed by the SC in 2013. The option of NOTA in RS polls was introduced by the EC in 2014. But it was opposed by Congress during last year RS polls in Gujarat. In the apex court, BJP-led NDA government had supported the Congress in opposing NOTA in RS polls.

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