RS polls: SC reserves verdict on applicability of NOTA

RS polls: SC reserves verdict on applicability of NOTA

The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its judgement on a plea if NOTA (None of the Above) option could be made available in the Rajya Sabha polls.

“In Rajya Sabha polls, there is a whip. There is an open ballot system. NOTA should not be applicable so far as such polls are concerned,” the bench observed.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said Rajya Sabha elections were already complicated and why should it be made more complicated.

The Centre, represented by Attorney General K K Venugopal, submitted that every single vote in the Rajya Sabha polls was important but NOTA has been made available so far.

Congress chief whip in Gujarat Assembly Shailesh Manubhai Parmar questioned the use of NOTA in the Rajya Sabha poll in the Election Commission's notification. The issue arose last year, though senior party leader Ahmed Patel had emerged victorious.

NOTA since 2014

Senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi, appearing for Parmar, challenged the validity of the EC's circular as the law does not permit it.

The EC, however, maintained from January 2014, biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha have been held in many states and the NOTA option has been there since then.

It also referred to the previous judgements delivered by the apex court and said every voter has the right to vote or not to cast vote.

On August 3 last, the top court had refused to stay the EC notification allowing NOTA option in the ballot paper for the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.