SC says NOTA can’t be permitted in Rajya Sabha polls

The apex court had questioned the poll panel's notification and said that NOTA was meant to be exercised by individual voters in direct polls

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that None of the Above Option (NOTA) will not applicable as a ballot option in Rajya Saha polls. The court further said that NOTA is to be used for direct elections only.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud has set aside the Election Commission’s notification allowing NOTA option in the ballot papers for Rajya Sabha polls.

The apex court had questioned the poll panel’s notification and said that NOTA was meant to be exercised by individual voters in direct polls.

The verdict came on a plea of Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, who was the Congress’s chief whip in the Gujarat assembly during the last Rajya Sabha polls, in which the party had fielded sitting MP Ahmed Patel.

Parmar had challenged the poll panel’s notification allowing the NOTA option in ballot papers.

The top court had earlier said by introducing NOTA, the poll panel was legitimising the act of not voting.

The Gujarat Congress leader had alleged that if the NOTA provision was allowed in the Rajya Sabha polls, it would encourage “horse-trading and corruption”.

The poll panel had said NOTA was first introduced in 2014 following an apex court verdict a year earlier and they (the Congress) did not have any objection in subsequent polls as it suited them.