SC Notice to EC on Plea to Nullify Result if Max Votes go to NOTA

“Right to reject will lead to political parties getting acceptable candidates,” the petitioner’s lawyer argued.

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The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and the Election Commission on a PIL seeking direction to give voters the right to reject a candidate in an election if maximum votes were polled in favour of NOTA.

The plea argued that the contesting candidates should be considered as rejected and not be allowed to fight fresh elections.

“Right to reject and elect new candidates will give power to the people to express their discontent,” said the plea.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, however, observed that if an influential political party manages to get many candidates rejected, in that backdrop of so many vacancies, it will be difficult for the Parliament to function.

Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, representing the petitioner, submitted her client had approached the statutory authorities, but failed to elicit a response.

The bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said, “It is a constitutional problem.”

“If your argument is accepted and all candidates are rejected and that constituency goes unrepresented completely,” the bench reiterated its query, "How will a valid Parliament be constituted?”

Guruswamy replied that the right to reject will lead to political parties getting acceptable candidates.

The bench said these suggestions were difficult to be accepted, though it completely understood the essence of the contention in the petition.

What Does The Petition State?

The plea argued that the right to reject will check corruption, criminalization, casteism communalism, regionalism etc, which are menaces in a democracy and political parties would be forced to give tickets to honest candidates.

The plea was filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who said: “The right to reject and elect new candidates will empower the people and accelerate their participation since they could abstain and register their discontent with low-quality candidates without fear of reprisal.

“It would foster purity of the election process by eventually compelling the parties to field better candidates, thus, controlling criminalization.”

Upadhyay urged the apex court to direct the Election Commission to use its plenary power under Article 324 to nullify the election result and hold fresh polls if maximum votes were cast in favour of NOTA in particular constituency.

The plea also sought the top court’s direction to the Centre to take apposite steps to invalidate the election result and hold fresh election in such a situation.

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