ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NOTA Must Count

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In the 16th Lok Sabha elections, 58,754 voters in Punjab and 34,225 voters in Haryana opted for “none of the above” or NOTA. Though the option did not prove too attractive to the voters as compared to other states, but it was considerable. NOTA garnered a countrywide vote share of 1.1% in these Lok Sabha polls, which is more than the vote share managed by parties like the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Janta Dal (United). So, NOTA is an important device in this context. But, former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said that “Even if there are 99 NOTA votes out of a total of 100, and candidate X gets just one vote, X is the winner, having obtained the only valid vote. The rest will be treated as invalid or no votes.” This statement warns us that NOTA is an invalid option, and not a valid vote.

According to the Election Commission of India:

The provision of NOTA option is an expression of decision not to vote for the contesting candidates The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in its judgments dated 27 September 2013, in writ Petition No 161 of 2004 directed that the Commission should make necessary provision in the ballot papers/EVM for “None of the Above (NOTA)” option so that the electors who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates can exercise their right not to vote for any candidate without violation of the secrecy of their decision.

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Updated On : 11th Aug, 2017

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