The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a plea by the Gujarat unit of the Congress and allowed the use of ‘None of the Above Option’ (NOTA) during Rajya Sabha elections in the state scheduled for August 8.
Refusing to stay the elections, the top court asked the Congress why it had not challenged the use of NOTA when the Election Commission issued circulars to the effect on January 2014 and in 2015.
However, it was reported early on Thursday that the Supreme Court, however, has agreed to examine the constitutional validity of EC’s notification on NOTA as an option.
The BJP has fielded its national president Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput for the three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat against the lone Congress candidate Ahmed Patel.
On the other hand from Congress side, senior counsel Kapil Sibal had said there was no statutory provision for the NOTA option on the ballot paper for these elections.
Earlier BJP too joined its political rival Congress in seeking the removal of (NOTA) option in the upcoming election to the Upper House. However, Supreme Court rejected the Congress plea. The petition claimed that the circulars on NOTA defeated the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
The direction to have NOTA in the elections was enforced in January 2014 after the Supreme Court in 2013 made it mandatory to have the option in the electronic voting machines (EVMs). In the Rajya Sabha polls, the MLAs have to show their ballot paper to an authorised party agent before putting it in the ballot box.