In the wake of the recent Surat Loksabha seat issue, motivational speaker Shiv Khera has sought direction from the Supreme Court to give publicity of NOTA as a “fictional candidate” and to frame rules to conduct re-election in the parliamentary seats where NOTA gets a majority.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud issued notice to the Election Commission of India on Shiv Khera’s plea seeking direction to frame rules to the effect that if NOTA gets a majority, the election held in the particular constituency shall be declared null and void and a fresh election shall be conducted to the constituency.
Shiv Khera, in his plea, also sought to frame rules stating that the candidates who poll fewer votes than NOTA shall stand debarred from contesting all elections for a period of five years and to ensure proper and efficient reporting/publicity of NOTA as a “Fictional Candidate”.
Senior Advocate Gopal Sankarnarayan, appearing for Shiv Khera apprised the Supreme Court about the current situation in the Surat Loksabha election. In Surat, since there was no other candidate all had to go for only one candidate, he apprised the bench.
Shiv Khera, in his plea filed through advocate on record Sheeta Mazumdar, sought directions to the Election Commission of India to frame guidelines or rules regarding uniform implementation of the NOTA vote option with consequences for candidates who do not surpass NOTA.
In November 2013, Election Commission and various State Election Commissions introduced none of the above (NOTA) option in the EVMS at the central level and as well as local body elections.
According to the petitioner, the most significant change brought in the form of NOTA was seen in Maharashtra, Haryana, Delhi and Puducherry. “The respective State Election Commission (SEC) declared that if NOTA emerged as the winner in any election, there would be a mandatory re-poll. This was the first significant change in the electoral system since the inception of NOTA. The notification put forward by the respective State Election Commissions fields NOTA as a fictional candidate and categorically holds that declaring the second highest candidate as winner (in case NOTA gets the highest votes), violates the underlying principle and object of NOTA,” the petition read.

The petition further added that since 2013, the implementation of NOTA has not
fulfilled the very purpose that it was supposed to.
The petition raised that the intention of bringing NOTA by the top court was with expectations that NOTA will increase voter participation in the elections, but the same doesn’t seem to have been achieved. The same can only be done if the Election Commission, State as well as Central gives teeth to NOTA just as in Maharashtra, Delhi, Puducherry and Haryana, the petitioner urged.
The option of NOTA in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is the result of ‘right to reject’ possessed by the voter in our electoral system and before India, 13 other countries adopted negative voting or the right to reject, the plea said.
The Election Commission of India has failed to regard NOTA as a valid candidate which in a democratic form of governance is essential since NOTA, is not merely a citizen ‘NOT’ voting but is actually a valid selection, the petition further said.
The plea further added that it can be summarised that while the top Court had an idealistic approach in adopting NOTA in the electoral system, the State Election Commissions utilizing their power in the Constitution of India, 1950 have turned that idealistic thought into reality. What has begun from the Panchayat and Municipal polls in 4 states should be implemented uniformly at all levels, the petitioner urged.
“The idea and purpose of NOTA is to put pressure on political parties to put up better candidates. There continue to be instances when almost all candidates in a constituency have had pending criminal cases. What does a voter do? NOTA is a potent weapon in the hands of the voter,” the petition said.(ANI)