Day 67 – Q 2.
2. Recent Voting patterns signal that Indian voters seem to use NOTA not just to show their disapproval of the candidates in the fray but to express their disenchantment with the existing political system. Do you think the use of NOTA is wastage of precious vote? In your opinion should the Election Commission remove NOTA option from direct elections the way it has removed it from Rajya Sabha elections?
NOTA (None Of The Above) option in the Indian electoral system allows voters to express their dissent against all the candidates in an election. It was enacted after the Supreme Court’s judgment in People’s Union for Civil liberties v. Union of India and does not include ‘right to reject’.
NOTA is a wastage of precious vote:
- It does not mean rejection. A NOTA vote does not have any impact on the election result.
- No legal standing for re-election in case the total number of NOTA votes crosses a certain percentage.
- NOTA can only work only when it is paired with Right To Recall option where voters can recall candidates they have elected.
It is not wastage:
- Increase the public participation in an electoral process.
- Gives the voter the right to express his disapproval with the kind of candidates that are being put up by the political parties.
- Compel the political parties to nominate a sound candidate.
Removing NOTA from direct elections:
- Rajya Sabha elections are indirect, open ballot and single transferable vote based system of proportional representation.
- Direct elections represent wish of people, so for a true representation of democratic will NOTA is important.
- It, however, needs to be combined with a right to reject and a provision for re-election.
- If NOTA has received highest number of valid votes, then the said election for that particular seat should be countermanded and fresh elections should be held for such post.
- There should also be a provision that same candidates should not contest the new election, because the result could be the same as earlier.
- All such contesting candidates who secured less votes than NOTA should not be eligible to re-file the nomination/contest the re-election.
- Such provisions can compel political parties to nominate sound candidates and are forced to accept the will of the people.
NOTA is necessary for the voters to show their disapproval of the candidates. It however needs to be made meaningful by combining with ‘right to reject’, rather than just being a cosmetic. Example could be taken from the municipal elections on Maharashtra and Haryana.
Best answer: Preeti Patkar(1st part)
Sreelaksmy Vijayan Uma (2nd part)