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SC rejects plea seeking re-election over NOTA
Monday November 25, 2013 7:29 PM, IANS

The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a petition seeking direction to the Election Commission to hold a re-poll in a constituency when 50 percent or more voters vote for 'NOTA' (None of the Above), rejecting all candidates.

Rejecting the PIL by Jagan Nath, Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it was for parliament to amend the Representation of People Act for the election panel to take such a course.

"It is for parliament to amend the law. We can't interfere. If you want, you make a representation to the government," Chief Justice Sathasivam said.

The court also observed that it was too early to exercise such an option as NOTA had been introduced only recently and one has yet to see the response of the electorate.

The apex court had Sep 27 said that for a vibrant democracy, the voter has to have the right to reject all candidates by exercising the option of NOTA in EVMs and ballot papers.

The court had said: "We are of the considered view that in bringing out this right to cast negative vote at a time when electioneering is in full swing, it will foster the purity of the electoral process and also fulfil one of its objectives, namely, wide participation of people."

The Election Commission introduced NOTA in the ongoing assembly elections to five states.

In a related PIL, the apex court bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Madan B. Lakur dismissed as withdrawn a PIL seeking the quashing of amendment to the Representation of People Act that permitted incarcerated people to contest elections from jail.

The amendment passed by parliament was to overturn the July 10 verdict by which the top court held that a person convicted of a criminal offence and in jail could not contest from behind the bars.

The court had said that a person disqualified from voting is not qualified to contest election either to parliament or state assemblies.

PIL petitioner and advocate M.L.Sharma was asked to approach the high court to challenge the amendment to the Representation of People act if he so desired.


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