Supreme Court Sends Notice to Election Commission Over NOTA Petition

The Supreme Court has taken note of a significant petition regarding the use of NOTA (None of the Above) in elections, particularly in the context of Lok Sabha polls. Here are the key points of the development:

Petition Details: Motivational speaker Shiv Khera has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, seeking action on the possibility of NOTA receiving more votes than candidates in a constituency.

Demand for Annulment: The petition calls for the annulment of elections and a re-election if NOTA garners more votes than any candidate. Additionally, it proposes barring candidates who receive fewer votes than NOTA from contesting for five years.

Senior Advocate’s Argument: Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing the petitioner, emphasized the need to give NOTA adequate publicity and recognition as a viable choice. He cited the example of the Surat Lok Sabha constituency, where the BJP candidate emerged victorious, to highlight the importance of NOTA’s potential impact.

Role of NOTA: The petition underscores NOTA as a tool for voters to express dissatisfaction with available candidates, particularly in constituencies where all contenders face criminal charges. It argues that NOTA serves as a mechanism for political parties to nominate more suitable candidates.

Election Commission’s Response: The Chief Justice, leading the bench hearing the petition, has directed the Election Commission to provide insights into the election process and address the concerns raised regarding NOTA’s efficacy and implementation.

The Supreme Court’s intervention underscores the significance of NOTA in democratic processes and raises questions about its effectiveness in reflecting voter sentiments. As the legal proceedings unfold, the outcome could potentially reshape electoral practices and accountability mechanisms in the country.

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