NOTA will not affect majority system: EC

NOTA will not affect majority system: EC

NOTA will not affect majority system: EC

The Election Commission on Monday clarified that even if the number of voters opting for “None-of-the-Above” or NOTA option in a poll was more than the number of votes polled by any of the candidates, the one getting the largest number of votes would be declared winner.

The Election Commission is set to comply with the Supreme Court’s September 27 order to add the 'None-of-the-Above' option in the Electronic Voting Machines during the coming assembly polls in four States - Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram – and the National Capital Territory of Delhi. 

“The Supreme Court held that the provisions of Rule 49-O under which an elector not wishing to vote for any candidate had to inform the Presiding Officer about his decision, are ultra vires Article 19 of the Constitution and Section 128 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.  As per the provisions of clause (a) of Rule 64 of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, read with Section 65 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the candidate who has polled the largest number of valid votes is to be declared elected by the Returning Officer,” the poll-panel explained in a press-release issued on Monday.

“Therefore,” it added, “even if the number of electors opting for NOTA option is more than the number of votes polled by any of the candidates, the candidate who secures the largest number of votes has to be declared elected.”

The EC said that under the provisions of Section 53(2) of Representation of the People Act, 1951, if the number of contesting candidates was equal to the number of seats to be filled, the Returning Officer would declare all the contesting candidates to be duly elected. 

“In the case of elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies, in cases where there is only one contesting candidate in the fray, the Returning Officer has to, in accordance with the provisions of the said Section 53(2), declare the sole contesting candidates as elected.  The provision of NOTA option which is an expression of decision not to vote for the contesting candidates is not relevant in such cases,” clarified the poll-panel.

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