The Supreme Court on 21 August 2018 the option of none of the above (NOTA) cannot be permitted in Rajya Sabha elections. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud has set aside the Election Commission’s notification allowing NOTA option in the ballot papers for Rajya Sabha polls.
The top court had questioned the poll panel’s notification and said that NOTA was meant to be exercised by individual voters in direct polls. The verdict came on a plea of Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, who was the Congress’s chief whip in the Gujarat assembly during the last Rajya Sabha elections, in which the party had fielded sitting lawmaker Ahmed Patel.
The Supreme Court had earlier said by introducing NOTA, the poll panel was legitimising the act of not voting. The Gujarat Congress leader had alleged that if the NOTA provision was allowed in the Rajya Sabha polls, it would encourage “horse-trading and corruption”. The poll panel had said NOTA was first introduced in 2014 following a Supreme Court verdict a year earlier and they (the Congress) did not have any objection in subsequent polls as it suited them.