The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on a plea challenging the Election Commission's circulars making NOTA applicable to Rajya Sabha election as the court appeared unimpressed by the poll panel's position on the issue.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M.Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachid reserved the order, observing that Rajya Sabha elections are complicated as it is and why does the Election Commission wants to make it more complicated.
Attorney General K.K.Venugopal told the court that NOTA could not be made applicable to election to Rajya Sabha as it was different from general elections where the voter was generally not politically affiliated, adding that a voter in Rajya Sabha election is politically affiliated and bound by the party constitution and could face action for defying it.
Disagreeing with the Election Commission on introducing NOTA in Rajya Sabha elections, he sought to show the distinction between the electoral college of elected members of legislature in the State assembly with that ofA common voters in a general election.
Chief Justice Misra differed with the advocate appearing for the Election Commission who sought to invoke the Constitution's Article 19 (1)(a) guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression to support introduction of NOTA in the election to upper house.
Ruling out linking voting for election to Rajya Sabha and Article 19(1)(a), he asked how can a constitutional court be a party to something not constitutional.
"Whatever he (voter in election to Rajya Sabha) does, we can't interfere in parliamentary matters. Let him not vote," said Chief Justice Misra.
Justice Chandrachud asked the lawyer for the EC that if NOTA was allowed the value of vote will become zero asking why a voter in Rajya Sabha elections shows the party representative that he has voted for a candidate fielded by the party.
Petitioner Shailesh Manubhai Parmar had challenged the vires of the January 24, 2014 and November 12, 2015, Election Commission circulars making NOTA applicable to election to Rajya Sabha.
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Parmar, thrashed the EC move on different counts including proportional representation, open ballot, preferences and transfer of surplus votes to candidates of other parties.