News Brief

What If NOTA Wins? Supreme Court Seeks Election Commission's Response On A Petition

Nayan Dwivedi

Apr 26, 2024, 03:53 PM | Updated 03:53 PM IST

Voting (Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times via GettyImages) 
Voting (Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times via GettyImages) 

The Supreme Court has taken a step forward in addressing concerns over the 'None Of The Above' (NOTA) option in elections by seeking a response from the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The petition, presented before the apex court, calls for re-polling in areas where NOTA garners the maximum votes in a constituency.

Advocating for necessary rules to be framed by the Election Commission in such cases, the petition highlights the need for electoral reforms, reported Livemint.

During the hearing, advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan mentioned that in the Surat Lok Sabha, only one candidate, BJP's Mukesh Dala, emerged victorious due to the rejection of the Congress candidate's nomination and the withdrawal of other candidates.

Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing the petitioner, underscored the importance of voters having the option to vote for NOTA even in situations with a single candidate.

He argued that voters should not be compelled to accept a candidate merely due to lack of alternatives.

The plea also suggests that if the majority of votes in a constituency are cast for NOTA, the election should be deemed null and void, triggering a fresh election.

Additionally, it proposes barring the defeated candidates from contesting the subsequent bye-election.

In response to the petition, a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud issued a notice to the Election Commission, emphasising the significance of electoral processes and awaiting the Commission's input on the matter.

It's noteworthy that NOTA, introduced in 2013 following a Supreme Court directive, enables voters to reject all candidates if deemed unsatisfactory.

However, under current laws, the candidate with the next highest vote count is declared the winner if NOTA garners the majority of votes.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections 2024: PM Modi Slams TMC Over West Bengal School Jobs Scam, Promises Stronger Commitment To Bihar

Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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