Hold fresh polls where NOTA got most votes: petition

Appeal in SC pushes for ‘right to reject’

November 30, 2020 10:34 pm | Updated 10:36 pm IST - NEW DELHI

File photo

File photo

An advocate has moved the Supreme Court for a direction that fresh elections should be held in a constituency where NOTA (‘None of the above’ option) garnered the maximum number of votes. Besides, none of the candidates who lost to NOTA should be allowed to contest the fresh polls.

Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said political parties chose candidates without consulting the voters, which was a “truly undemocratic” process. In turn, if the electorate has rejected these candidates by voting for NOTA, the parties should be barred from fielding them again in the fresh polls. The parties should accept that the voters have already made their discontent loud and clear.

“Right to reject and elect new candidate will give power to the people to express their discontent ... Right to reject will check corruption, criminalisation, casteism, communalism ... parties would be forced to give tickets to honest and patriotic candidates,” Mr. Upadhyay reasoned.

He contended that the ‘right to reject’ was first proposed by the Law Commission in 1999. “It also suggested that the candidates be declared elected only if they have obtained 50%+1 of the valid votes cast. Similarly, the Election Commission endorsed ‘Right to Reject’, first in 2001, under James Lyngdoh [the then CEC], and then in 2004 under T.S. Krishnamurthy [the then CEC], in its Proposed Electoral Reforms,” the petition said.

The ‘Background Paper on Electoral Reforms’, prepared by the Ministry of Law in 2010, had proposed that if certain percentage of the vote was negative, then election result should be nullified and new election held, the petition said.

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