The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the None of the Above (NOTA) option cannot be made applicable for voting in Rajya Sabha elections. Also Read - Farm Bills to be Tabled in Rajya Sabha Today; Oppn Puts United Front, BJP Seeks Support From Regional Parties | Top Points
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra set aside the Election Commission’s notification allowing NOTA option in the ballot papers for Rajya Sabha polls. Also Read - Chidambaram Says Farm Bills 2020 Undermine Food Security System, Slams BJP For ‘Maligning’ Cong's 2019 Manifesto
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. Also Read - Sudarshan TV Row: 'Free Speech, Not Hatred,' Supreme Court Says Media Self-regulation System Toothless
The verdict came on a petition filed by Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, the then Chief Whip of the Indian National Congress in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly who had challenged the use of NOTA for Rajya Sabha elections in the state in 2017, when his party had fielded sitting MP Ahmed Patel.
Parmar had alleged that allowing NOTA in Rajya Sabha polls would encourage “horse trading and corruption”.
The poll panel had said NOTA was first introduced in 2014 following an apex court verdict a year earlier and they (the Congress) did not have any objection in subsequent polls as it suited them.
Interestingly, the BJP had supported the Congress arguing that the Election Commission cannot sanction the use of NOTA by way of mere circulars, thereby overriding the provisions of Article 80(4).