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The Supreme Court, on August 3, 2017, allowed the use of the option “none of the above”, in the elections to be held in Gujarat, thereby rejecting the plea of the Congress Party.
The Petitioners have alleged that “The use of NOTA in an indirect election is contrary to the mandate of the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act and election rules,”
While the Hon’ble Court has held that, as it did not cause a problem when it favored the petitioners, there is no reason for staying the decision of the Election Commission at this stage of the elections, it has however agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the August 1 notification of the poll panel allowing the NOTA option.
The Hon’ble Bench, during the hearing while raising its concerns said that “How many elections have been conducted since these circulars? Why didn’t you challenge it then? When it suited you, you didn’t challenge it but when it doesn’t, you raise objections.” The Hon’ble Court also rejected the plea to allow election only if NOTA is not used.
Though the BJP has supported the option of doing away with NOTA, the Centre has maintained a strategic silence in the SC on the issue. Attorney general K K Venugopal has also submitted that the Centre has nothing to do with the July 24 EC notification allowing NOTA to be used in the Gujarat RS polls.
This Petition has come after the Congress Party suffered a huge blow due to cross voting during the elections.