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NOTA can’t be allowed in Rajya Sabha elections, it’s only for direct polls, rules SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the option of none of the above (NOTA) cannot be permitted in Rajya Sabha elections and stated that it should be applied in direct polls only.
The Election Commission has notified that NOTA option will be made available in the ballot papers for Rajya Sabha polls. However, a SC bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud set aside the poll panel’s notofication. The apex court had questioned the EC’s notification and said that NOTA was meant to be exercised by individual voters in direct polls.
The verdict came on a plea of Congress leader Shailesh Manubhai Parmar who had challenged the poll panel’s notification allowing the NOTA option in ballot papers. Parmar 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.
The Gujarat Congress leader had claimed that if the option of NOTA was allowed in Rajya Sabha polls, it would encourage the practice of “horse-trading and corruption”.
However, the EC said that NOTA was first introduced in 2014 following an apex court verdict a year earlier. The poll panel claimed that the Congress did not raise any objection then as it subsequent polls as it suited them.
The top court had earlier said that by introducing NOTA, the poll panel was legitimising the act of not voting.