NOTA To Be Part Of Rajya Sabha Polls, Rules Supreme Court

Marie Harrington
August 4, 2017

The EC had, however, said the panel had made it clear in its communications following a Supreme Court judgment of 2013 that NOTA option would be applicable in the Rajya Sabha election. Patel tweeted his opinion as income tax officials visited a resort in Karnataka where 44 of its legislators from Gujarat were housed in an apparent bid to prevent any more defections after six resigned in two days and three of them joining the BJP.

Senior counsel Ashok Desai, appearing for the EC, submitted that Nota had been used in all the Rajya Sabha polls since the 2014 circular, including those in Maharashtra, Kerala, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

The petitioner challenged the order issued by Secretary of Gujarat Assembly on August 1 for providing option of "None of the above" in the ballot papers for conducting elections for four Rajya Sabha seats. However, they issued a notice to the poll panel for September 13 to examine the constitutional validity of the notification. Congress President Sonia Gandhi's political advisor and close confidant Ahmed Patel is contesting the Rajya Sabha poll from Gujarat.

In what could be a setback for the party, the court rejected the contention of Congresss chief whip in the Gujarat Assembly, Shailesh Manubhai Parmar that the notification be stayed, otherwise it would "encourage corruption" and the MLAs might opt the NOTA option.

Rajya Sabha poll in Gujarat will be held on August 8.

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"If you don't stay the notification on NOTA, it will let people purchase votes", Sibal contended.

- Immediately thereafter biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha were held in 16 States. "Even after the elections and results are declared as per the schedule, the matter will be heard on the constitutional issue", it said. Poll was taken on 7 February 2014 where elections were contested.

The instructions were issued by the EC in October 2013 of providing NOTA as an option on the ballot paper after the name of the last candidate, whereas in January 2014 EC issued directions that the option of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation shall be applicable in the elections to the Rajya Sabha.

- On 27 February 2014, while extending the NOTA option to Legislative Council elections, further instructions were issued regarding the manner of marking vote with NOTA option on the ballot paper. The government was also hit by the absence of about 30 lawmakers of the BJP and allies when the vote was held. "But the Supreme Court will not go by political considerations and its decisions are binding for all and should be acceptable to all", said BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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