Implementing the Supreme Court order, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday withdrew the provision of None Of The Above (NOTA) from elections to Rajya Sabha and legislative council in states. The option will now be available to the public only during Lok Sabha and state assembly elections.
The ECI in a notification ordered the Returning Officers for Rajya Sabha and legislative council elections to make sure that the column of NOTA is not published in the ballot papers.
Earlier in August, the apex court ruled that the NOTA option cannot be made available in Rajya Sabha elections. A three-judge bench of CJI Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud observed that the NOTA option is applicable only for direct elections and not indirect elections such as the Rajya Sabha polls.
The decision was taken during the hearing over a petition filed by Gujarat Congress leader Shailesh Manubhai Parmar. During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud had pointed out that the rule in Upper House polls was an open ballot and the members by not transferring their excess vote to the next member would be violating the contract between parties. “If he doesn’t vote, the party will expel him. But by making the option of NOTA, you are legitimizing his action,” added Justice Chandrachud.
However, the EC had defended NOTA and said a member had the right not to vote and that would not be against the conduct of election rules or unconstitutional.