NOTA To Be Part Of Rajya Sabha Polls, Rules Supreme Court

Trevor Jackson
August 4, 2017

The Supreme Court has refused to stay the use of the NOTA (none of the above) option in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat.

The apex court also slammed Congress party for coming in the eleventh hour as EC issued the notification in January 2014.

Patel, a trusted aide of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, incidentally, has been pitted against former party colleague Balwantsinh Rajput, who is among three Congress MLAs who joined the BJP last month. Fearing trouble for Mr Patel, the Congress has lodged 44 MLAs from the state in Bengaluru to shield them from alleged poaching bids.

Congress General Secretary Ashok Gehlot, who is in charge of the party affairs in Gujarat, on Wednesday criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying it is hell-bent upon killing democracy in the Rajya Sabha elections. The BJP now has 58 members, the Congress has 57, though the BJP-led government is still short of a majority in the 245-seat Upper House of Parliament. "You can't wait till you are affected and come to us on the eve of the election".

"When it suited you, you didn't challenge it, but when it doesn't, you raise objections", the court told counsel Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi appearing for petitioner, Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, chief whip of the Congress in Gujarat Assembly. If you do not stay it, it will be a recipe for corruption.

While refusing the stay, the bench agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the EC notification and directed the poll panel to file its reply by 13 September. Six of its MLAs have already resigned, and there is concern that some of the remaining MLAs may not heed the party whip.

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On August 8, elections will be held for three seats in Gujarat.

The court issued notice to Election Commission and sought its response within two weeks.

- Immediately thereafter biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha were held in 16 States. The election should be taken in the widest sense.

The instructions were issued by the EC in October 2013 of providing NOTA as an option on the ballot paper after the name of the last candidate, whereas in January 2014 EC issued directions that the option of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation shall be applicable in the elections to the Rajya Sabha. "Both are entirely different", Sibal argued, adding that not in a single election had NOTA been exercised so far.

- Later, on 12 November 2015, more detailed instructions were issued regarding the manner of voting including opting of NOTA option with illustrative examples.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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