Rajya Sabha polls will have the Nota option

Jerome Frank
August 4, 2017

The Supreme Court of India on Thursday refused to stay None Of The Above (NOTA) option in upcoming Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls on August 8.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, however, agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the August 1 notification of the EC allowing the NOTA option. When it suited you, you did not challenge it.

It said the All India Congress Committee (AICC) had made a representation before the ECI "highlighting the illegal nature of the circulars" and requesting the poll panel to refrain from implementing the same to ensure free and fair elections, but the state Assembly issued a circular making available the NOTA choice. "First elections were postponed, then NOTA was permitted and then they even started threatening MLAs in Gujarat, which led to defections from the Congress". The court will hear the matter next on 18 September.

Sibal told the apex court that there is no statutory provision with regard to NOTA in the Constitution.

Sibal, supported by senior advocates Abhishek M Singhvi and Vivek Tankha, tried to reason out that the petitioner got affected only when circular was issued state Assembly Secretary for bringing in NOTA in the impending polls. "BJP can not digest power and for this reason it is using everything under the sun to defeat me", Patel said. The party said in a memorandum to the EC that the use of NOTA in the upcoming elections has become an issue of contention and debate among the political parties and therefore, a proper consensus should be made before its use in the Rajya Sabha election. "Why are you so late in raising the question?" the bench asked, according to ANI. Sibal replied, "It's not a question of winning or losing".

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Rashid Abdi, regional analyst at global crisis group, also expressed fear that public confidence in the vote could be affected. Msando led a key project in the IEBC to use biometric technology to identify voters and electronic transmission of results.

Ahmed Patel, the Gandhi family's most trusted aide is seeking his 5th term in the Rajya Sabha from his home state of Gujarat. The Gujarat Congress had challenged using of the option of NOTA in the RS polls in Gujarat.

The IT department earlier in the day raided the residence of Shivakumar and the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bengaluru - where 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs are now holed up.

"The Supreme Court ruling was restricted to direct elections, while this is a case of indirect election on proportional representative by means of single transferrable vote".

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.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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