Election Commission Current Affairs - 2019

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SC scraps use of option in Rajya Sabha elections

Supreme Court scrapped use of NOTA (none of the above) option for Rajya Sabha elections, saying it defeats fairness in indirect elections, destroys democratic values and serves as Satan of defection and corruption. The ruling was given by three judges bench of SC comprising of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. It came on petition by Shailesh Parmar, who was Congress chief whip in Gujarat, challenging EC decision to allow NOTA in Rajya Sabha polls.

SC Prnouncement

It quashed June 2014 notification of Election Commission that allowed use of NOTA option in Rajya Sabha elections. It held that NOTA will destroy concept of value of vote and representation, and encourage defection that shall open doors for corruption which is malignant disorder.

It said that introduction of NOTA in indirect elections may on first glance, tempt intellect but on keen scrutiny, as it falls to ground and completely ignores role of elector in such election and fully destroys democratic value. NOTA practical application defeats fairness ingrained in indirect election.

It held that choice of NOTA will have negative impact in voting process of Rajya Sabha where open ballot is permissible and secrecy of voting has no room and discipline of political parties matters. Though elector, in Rajya Sabha has single vote and has quantified value of his vote and transferable surplus votes. But there is existence of formula for determining value of vote which has different connotation.

Background

NOTA was introduced in Lok Sabha polls (direct election) by Election Commission of India (ECI) following 2013 Supreme Court decision. It was extended to Rajya Sabha election (i.e. indirect elections) via notification in January 2014. Thereafter, biennial elections to 76 Rajya Sabha seats across 21 states in 2014, 8 seats across three states in 2015, 70 seats across 21 states in 2016, 10 seats across three states in 2017, and 58 seats across 16 states in 2018 have been held. NOTA option was provided on ballot paper after name of the last candidate in each of these biennial elections held since 2014. Election Commission in apex court had justified its decision of introducing NOTA in Rajya Sabha elections, mentioning that it did not make any distinction between direct and indirect elections.

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Election Commission to launch App to help voters to share malpractice proof

Election Commission of India (ECI) is launching multi-lingual mobile application called Model Code of Conduct Violation Reporting App ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The app aims at empowering people across the country to share evidence of malpractice by political parties, their candidates and activists directly with ECI.

Key Facts

Through this mobile app, ECI intends to encourage larger public participation in checking corrupt practices in elections and ensure free and fair election process. The app will be launched across the country as part of steps taken by ECI to prevent abuse of money and muscle power.

The app allows sharing of photos and short audio and video clips related to electoral malpractices from spot itself. It also records geo-location of reported incidents and the officials concerned will immediately receive the alerts. This will ensure an effective response.

The app was made available for first time in Bengaluru (capital of Karnataka) in run-up to recently concluded state assembly elections. It had registered total of 780 downloads and complaints were received from users. Accordingly, officials concerned in all the cases had taken actions.

Election Commission of India (ECI)

ECI is permanent and independent constitutional body established directly by Constitution of India to ensure fair and fair elections in the country. It is multi-member body and currently has three members including Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) appointed by President of India.

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