Election Commission Current Affairs - 2020
Election Commission of India (EC) had removed NOTA (None of the Above) option from ballot papers of Rajya Sabha, Legislative Council elections following directive of Supreme Court. The NOTA option, henceforth will be only available in direct elections such as Lok Sabha and state assembly elections.
In August 2018, Supreme Court had said that NOTA will not be applicable as ballot option in Rajya Sabha polls. It will only continue to be option in direct elections such as Lok Sabha and state assemblies. It had quashed June 2014 notification of EC 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 also had held that NOTA was meant to be exercised by individual voters in direct polls.
NOTA is ballot option designed to allow voter to indicate disapproval of all of the candidates in a voting system. It was introduced in 2013 after Supreme Court of India directed Election Commission to provide NOTA button in the electronic voting machines.
NOTA option was first used in 2013 assembly elections held in four States — Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. 2014 Lok Sabha election was first general election to see its nationwide use of NOTA, where it polled 1.1% of the votes.
NOTA is not right to reject i.e. candidate with maximum votes wins the election irrespective of the number of NOTA votes polled. Election Commission also has clarified that even though votes cast as NOTA are counted, they are considered as invalid votes so they will not change outcome of election process.
Tags: Election Commission • Legislative Council Elections • National • 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.
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.
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.