Supreme Court order on NOTA use in Rajya Sabha polls reserved

The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on a plea challenging the Election Commission’s circulars making NOTA (none of the above) option applicable to Rajya Sabha election as the court appeared unimpressed by the poll panel’s position on the issue.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed that the Upper House elections are complicated as it is and the poll panel should not make it more complicated.

The SC reserved the order on a petition by Gujarat Congress leader Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, who has challenged the provision of NOTA in these polls.

“The idea of NOTA in Rajya Sabha elections was to prevent cross-voting, But allowing NOTA is like allowing cross-voting through the back door,” said Justice DY Chandrachud, a member of the bench that also includes Justice AM Khanwilkar. “We cannot tolerate the prescription of NOTA in Rajya Sabha elections. Why should the Supreme Court be a part to an unconstitutional principle?” the CJI said.

Attorney general KK.Venugopal told the SC 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, whereas a voter in Rajya Sabha election is politically affiliated and bound by the party constitution and could face action for defying it.

Defending the use of NOTA, the EC said a member had the right not to vote and that would not be against the conduct of election rules or be unconstitutional.

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 01:01 IST

Updated: July 31, 2018 — 9:24 am