None of the Above (NOTA) Issue
|Earlier||Representation of People’s Act had provision that elector not wishing to vote for any candidate had to inform the Presiding Officer about his decision |
|Supreme Court’s decision||– Declared above provision to be ultra vires Article 19 of constitution |
– Directed Election Commission of India to provide a NOTA option on the EVM and ballot papers (Reason = secrecy).
Positive features in NOTA
- Ensures Freedom of expression
- Introducing a NOTA button can increase the public participation in an electoral process.
- NOTA option gives the voter the right to express his disapproval with the kind of candidates that are being put up by the political parties.
Negative features in NOTA
- As per present provisions , candidate who has polled the largest number of valid votes is to be declared elected . NOTA do not mean rejection.
NOTA can only work when it is paired with Right To Recall option where voters can recall candidates they have elected. In such situation, NOTA will act as a pre-cursor to public displeasure.
Right to Reject
- June 2018 : Maharashtra State Election Commission (MSEC) made an order for local body polls that fresh elections should be held if NOTA ‘emerges winner’.
- Dec 2018 :Haryana State Election Commission going step further made an order that if all the contesting candidates individually receive lesser votes than NOTA then not only would “none of the contesting candidates be declared as elected,” but “all such contesting candidates who secured less votes than NOTA shall not be eligible to re-file the nomination/contest the re-election.”
With two State Election Commissions showing the way, the remaining State Election Commissions and the Election Commission of India should follow suit so that political parties are compelled to nominate sound candidates, and are forced to accept the will of the people, as desired by the highest court in the land.
Side Topic : NOTA & Rajya Sabha Elections
- Matter came up in August 2017. It was allowed during Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections
- Aug 2018 : Supreme Court scrapped the use of NOTA option in coming Rajya Sabha elections.
A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra held that
- NOTA option is meant only for universal adult suffrage and direct elections and not polls held by the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote as done in Rajya Sabha.
- NOTA in indirect elections, such as in Rajya Sabha, would lead to horse-trading, corruption and use of extra constitutional methods to defeat a party candidate.