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SC Notice To EC On Plea Seeking Fresh Elections In Case Of NOTA Majority

The Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to the Election Commission of India regarding a plea seeking fresh elections in constituencies where the NOTA category receives majority of the votes.

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SC Notice To EC On Plea Seeking Fresh Elections In Case Of NOTA Majority Photo: File Pic
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The Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to the Election Commission of India regarding a plea seeking fresh elections in constituencies where the NOTA category receives majority of the votes. The plea filed on Friday sought for the ECI to to declare an election as "null and void" if NOTA wins and conduct fresh elections in the respective constituency.

The plea also sought to frame rules for candidates that get fewer votes than NOTA. As per the plea file, such candidates should be debarred from contesting all elections for a period of five years and to ensure "proper and efficient reporting/publicity" of NOTA as a “Fictional Candidate”.

The matter was heard on Friday by a bench comprising of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra. During the hearing, the bench agreed to consider the issues raised by the petitioner regarding NOTA and have sought a response from ECI and the Centre.

The plea was raised in the Supreme Court as NOTA as a vote category doesn't have any legal consequences. In cases where NOTA receives the most votes, the next candidate is declared as the winner.

Citing BJP's Surat "win", Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan stated that voters should get a choice between the only candidate and NOTA.

In Surat, the BJP marked its first poll victory as it's candidate - Mukesh Dalal - was unopposed. The congress candidate was disqualified by the poll body and all other independent candidates dropped out of the race, making BJP's candidate the last man standing.

A similar plea was filed in 2021 where the Supreme Court sought for the responses from the Central Government and the Election Commission. The 2021 plea sought for the poll body to nullify an election result where "None Of The Above" has received the majority of votes.

In 2021, the plea was heard by Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, who in return issued notices to ECI and the Ministry of Law and Social Justice.

What Is NOTA?

NOTA - None Of The Above - was introduced as an option for voters in 2013. The option was introduced based on the judgement passed by the Supreme Court in a PUCL case in 2013.

"For democracy to survive, it is essential that the best available men should be chosen as people’s representatives. This can be best achieved through men of high moral and ethical values, who win elections on a positive vote. Thus, in a vibrant democracy, the voter must be given an opportunity to choose Nota, which will compel political parties to nominate a sound candidate," the top court observed.

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