On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a notice in a PIL. It directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to use its plenary power under Article 32 to nullify election result and hold fresh elections if maximum polls are polled in favour of NOTA in any particular constituency and to restrict candidates who had participated in the cancelled election from contesting in the fresh elections.
Senior Counsel Menaka Guruswamy who appeared for the petitioner, stated that even though the petitioner has approached the statutory authorities, he has not received any response.
The plea reads that political parties choose candidates in a very undemocratic manner without consulting the electors; that is why people in various constituencies are totally discontented with the candidates.
The petitioner submitted that the aforesaid problem could be effectively solved by holding fresh elections if maximum votes are polled in favour of NOTA. in such situations contesting candidates should be rejected, and there should be fresh elections. This will give power to the voters to express their discontent.
It was further submitted that the right to reject would check criminalisation, corruption, linguism, regionalism, casteism, and communalism as the parties will be forced to give to honest and deserving candidates.
The petitioner pointed out that the existing NOTA system is not the same as the right to reject. For example, if out of 100 votes, 99 polled in favour of NOTA, but one person votes in favour of a candidate, he will be declared the winner. The ECI has clarified that no re-elections can be called based on Rule 64(a)of Election Rules and Section 53(2) and 65 RPA. The NOTA option was only introduced to ensure the secrecy of the voters.
Lastly, the petitioner submitted that good governance, which is the motivating factor behind the right to reject, cannot be achieved without cancelling the election where NOTA receives maximum votes.
He also submitted that the Centre should implement the Venkatachaliah Commission’s suggestions on increasing political awareness and decriminalising politics.