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Supreme Court seeks Centre, EC views on plea for nullifying election if NOTA gets maximum votes

NOTA does not hold any electoral value. Even if a majority of votes are cast, the candidate with the largest vote share will be declared the winner. The NOTA option was first used in the 2013 assembly elections held in Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

PTI PTI
New Delhi Updated on: March 15, 2021 15:28 IST
NOTA, Supreme Court
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Supreme Court seeks Centre, EC views on plea for nullifying election if NOTA gets maximum votes

The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea seeking to direct the poll panel to nullify an election result and conducting a fresh poll if the maximum votes are for NOTA in a particular constituency. A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notices to the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Election Commission of India while seeking their replies on the plea. Senior advocate Maneka Guruswamy appeared for the petitioner.

The top court was hearing a plea filed by advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay which also sought a direction to the Election Commission to restrict those candidates and political parties, whose election has been nullified, from taking part in the fresh polls.

"The right to reject and elect a new candidate will give power to the people to express their discontent. If voters are dissatisfied with the background or performance of contesting candidate, they will opt for NOTA (none of the above) to reject such candidate and elect a new candidate," the petition said.

"The Court may declare that if 'none of the above' (NOTA) gets maximum votes, then election to that constituency shall be nullified and a fresh election shall be held within six months; and the contesting candidates rejected in the nullified elections, shall not be allowed to participate in the fresh election," the plea filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey said.

The petition contended that political parties choose contesting candidates in a very undemocratic manner without consulting electors, that is why, many times people in the constituency are totally discontented with candidates presented before them.

"This problem can be solved by holding a fresh election if maximum votes are polled in favour of NOTA. In such situation, the contesting candidates should be considered as rejected and not be allowed in the fresh election," the plea said.

"Right to reject and elect new candidate will give power to the people to express their discontent. If voters are dissatisfied with the background of contesting candidate, they will opt NOTA to reject such candidate and elect a new candidate," the plea said.

The plea said the percentage of candidates with criminal antecedents and their chances of winning has actually increased steadily over the years.

"The injury caused to public is extremely large and continue till date, as the right to reject is an integral part of Article 19, but the Centre and ECI did nothing to declare the election result invalid and hold fresh election if maximum votes are polled in favour of NOTA," it added.

READ MORE: Supreme Court directs EC to provide for 'None of the above' option in EVM

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