Context

  • The ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option will remain on the ballot paper in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

Plea to get rid of NOTA

  • A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar rejected the Gujarat Congress’s plea to freeze the NOTA option for elections to the three Rajya Sabha seats in the State on August 8.

The Supreme Court decision on Rajya Sabha elections

  • The court refused to quash Gujarat Vidhan Sabha circular of August 1 to include NOTA in the ballot papers.
  • The court paid meagre regard to submissions made by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Congress chief whip in Gujarat Assembly Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, that NOTA would be a “recipe for corruption”, and it would be seen as if the court was turning its back on corruption.
  • Sibal raised the concern that MLAs could defy the party whip and undermine their votes by opting for NOTA.

Notice to Election Commission of India

  • The court has issued a notice to the Election Commission of India, saying the poll body should be heard in detail as any judicial decision on NOTA may have a ripple effect on elections conducted from January 24, 2014, to the present day.
  • The court accepted that the Union of India does not in any way interfere with the decisions of the Election Commission and, hence, had no role in this case.
  • The court issued notice only to the Election Commission for a response on the Gujarat Congress’ challenge of its January 24, 2014, notification.

The system of NOTA

  • The system of NOTA makes the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote irrelevant and ineffectual and cannot be made applicable in Rajya Sabha elections.
  • The use of NOTA cannot be sanctioned by way of the impugned circular,”
  • It’s not as if NOTA, option is being familiarized for the first time in the Rajya Sabha elections taking place in Gujarat on August 8.
  • The option was available in all elections to the Upper House since 2014 as directed by the Supreme Court in 2013.
  • On September 27, 2013, a three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court said NOTA was also in use in 13 countries, including the United States, France, Brazil, Bangladesh, Sweden and Spain.
  • It observed that in Indian Parliament also, voting machines had three choices: A yes, No and Abstain.
  • The Election Commission, in October 2013, issued guidelines for providing the NOTA option in elections.
  • For some reasons doubts were raised about its applicability in the Rajya Sabha polls.
  • After examining the issue, the EC on January 24, 2014, directed that the option would also apply for elections to the Rajya Sabha.
  • Immediately thereafter, NOTA was introduced for the biennial elections to the Upper House held in 16 States on February 7 the same year.
  • On February 27, 2014, while extending the NOTA option to the Legislative Council elections, the electoral body gave further directives on its use.
  • In view of the existing rules, the electors despite any party whip can exercise their choice and in doing so, they do not face disqualification as legislators.

The impact of NOTA

  • The impact of the decision of MLAs to exercise the NOTA option in elections to the Rajya Sabha will be the same as that of an abstention.
  • It does not attract the anti-defection law.
  • In the Rajya Sabha polls, a winning candidate should get a required number of votes calculated through a formula.
  • The total number of votes are divided by the number of seats going to the polls from the State, adding one vote to the number.
  • To this whole, a value of one vote is again added.
  • The polls are held by means of a single, transferable vote, and the candidates reaching the requisite number are declared elected.
  • If a candidate from a party exercises the NOTA option, the total votes will go down. This can bring down the number required to win.
  • This can benefit a candidate from another party, in case MLAs from that party vote for their official candidate, neither abstaining nor exercising the NOTA option.

What is NOTA?

  • The Supreme Court upheld the right of voters to reject all candidates contesting the elections, saying it would go a long way in cleansing the political system of the country.
  • The apex court directed the Election Commission to have an option of ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers in a major electoral reform.

How is a NOTA vote cast?

  • The EVMs have the NOTA option at the end of the candidates’ list.
  • Earlier, in order to cast a negative ballot, a voter had to inform the presiding officer at the polling booth.
  • A NOTA vote doesn’t require the involvement of the presiding officer.

When was NOTA first used in India; how did it fair?

  • The NOTA option was first used in the assembly elections held in five state in 2013.
  • More than 15 lakh people exercised the option in the states polls.
  • The figure, however, was lower than 1.5% of the total voters.
  • Around 50,000 voters opted for NOTA in Delhi; 3.56 lakh in Chhattisgarh; 5.9 lakh in Madhya Pradesh and 5.67 lakh in Rajasthan.

Why have NOTA if there’s ‘no electoral value’?

  • The SC said negative voting would even encourage people who are not satisfied with any of the candidates to turn up to express their opinion and reject all contestants.

Context

  • The ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option will remain on the ballot paper in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

Plea to get rid of NOTA

  • A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar rejected the Gujarat Congress’s plea to freeze the NOTA option for elections to the three Rajya Sabha seats in the State on August 8.

The Supreme Court decision on Rajya Sabha elections

  • The court refused to quash Gujarat Vidhan Sabha circular of August 1 to include NOTA in the ballot papers.
  • The court paid meagre regard to submissions made by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Congress chief whip in Gujarat Assembly Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, that NOTA would be a “recipe for corruption”, and it would be seen as if the court was turning its back on corruption.
  • Sibal raised the concern that MLAs could defy the party whip and undermine their votes by opting for NOTA.

Notice to Election Commission of India

  • The court has issued a notice to the Election Commission of India, saying the poll body should be heard in detail as any judicial decision on NOTA may have a ripple effect on elections conducted from January 24, 2014, to the present day.
  • The court accepted that the Union of India does not in any way interfere with the decisions of the Election Commission and, hence, had no role in this case.
  • The court issued notice only to the Election Commission for a response on the Gujarat Congress’ challenge of its January 24, 2014, notification.

The system of NOTA

  • The system of NOTA makes the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote irrelevant and ineffectual and cannot be made applicable in Rajya Sabha elections.
  • The use of NOTA cannot be sanctioned by way of the impugned circular,”
  • It’s not as if NOTA, option is being familiarized for the first time in the Rajya Sabha elections taking place in Gujarat on August 8.
  • The option was available in all elections to the Upper House since 2014 as directed by the Supreme Court in 2013.
  • On September 27, 2013, a three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court said NOTA was also in use in 13 countries, including the United States, France, Brazil, Bangladesh, Sweden and Spain.
  • It observed that in Indian Parliament also, voting machines had three choices: A yes, No and Abstain.
  • The Election Commission, in October 2013, issued guidelines for providing the NOTA option in elections.
  • For some reasons doubts were raised about its applicability in the Rajya Sabha polls.
  • After examining the issue, the EC on January 24, 2014, directed that the option would also apply for elections to the Rajya Sabha.
  • Immediately thereafter, NOTA was introduced for the biennial elections to the Upper House held in 16 States on February 7 the same year.
  • On February 27, 2014, while extending the NOTA option to the Legislative Council elections, the electoral body gave further directives on its use.
  • In view of the existing rules, the electors despite any party whip can exercise their choice and in doing so, they do not face disqualification as legislators.

The impact of NOTA

  • The impact of the decision of MLAs to exercise the NOTA option in elections to the Rajya Sabha will be the same as that of an abstention.
  • It does not attract the anti-defection law.
  • In the Rajya Sabha polls, a winning candidate should get a required number of votes calculated through a formula.
  • The total number of votes are divided by the number of seats going to the polls from the State, adding one vote to the number.
  • To this whole, a value of one vote is again added.
  • The polls are held by means of a single, transferable vote, and the candidates reaching the requisite number are declared elected.
  • If a candidate from a party exercises the NOTA option, the total votes will go down. This can bring down the number required to win.
  • This can benefit a candidate from another party, in case MLAs from that party vote for their official candidate, neither abstaining nor exercising the NOTA option.

What is NOTA?

  • The Supreme Court upheld the right of voters to reject all candidates contesting the elections, saying it would go a long way in cleansing the political system of the country.
  • The apex court directed the Election Commission to have an option of ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers in a major electoral reform.

How is a NOTA vote cast?

  • The EVMs have the NOTA option at the end of the candidates’ list.
  • Earlier, in order to cast a negative ballot, a voter had to inform the presiding officer at the polling booth.
  • A NOTA vote doesn’t require the involvement of the presiding officer.

When was NOTA first used in India; how did it fair?

  • The NOTA option was first used in the assembly elections held in five state in 2013.
  • More than 15 lakh people exercised the option in the states polls.
  • The figure, however, was lower than 1.5% of the total voters.
  • Around 50,000 voters opted for NOTA in Delhi; 3.56 lakh in Chhattisgarh; 5.9 lakh in Madhya Pradesh and 5.67 lakh in Rajasthan.

Why have NOTA if there’s ‘no electoral value’?

  • The SC said negative voting would even encourage people who are not satisfied with any of the candidates to turn up to express their opinion and reject all contestants.

 

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