UPDATED: March 15, 2021 12:16 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre on a PIL seeking directions for the Election Commission (EC) to nullify election results and hold fresh polls if the maximum number of votes have been polled for NOTA in a constituency.
Senior advocate Maneka Guruswamy was appearing for the petitioner and argued that there is a “right to reject”. “We are asking for that right to be recognised,” said the petitioner. The plea was filed by advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.
The bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notices to the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Election Commission while seeking their replies on the plea.
CJI SA Bobde said, “If a political party which has sufficient influence over voters manages to get candidates rejected by the people, there will be seats empty in the Parliament.”
However, Guruswamy argued that the threshold is that 50% NOTA vote should be counted. “At present, if 99% of the voters don’t like a candidate, the 1% vote decides the outcome of elections,” she said.
CJI Bobde observed, “It’s a Constitutional problem. If your argument is accepted and all candidates are rejected due to NOTA, then that constituency will go unrepresented. How will you constitute a valid Parliament like this?”
The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and the Election Commission on the plea seeking to nullify an election result if the maximum votes are for NOTA (None of the Above) in a particular constituency.