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Election Commission finally adopted NOTA option
Oct 14, 2013

The Election Commission has ordered the Chief Electoral Officers of all States and Union territories to provide for ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers.

The option will be provided at the bottom of the panel on the EVMs or as the last row in the ballot paper after all the candidates have been listed with their respective symbols in the same language used to list the candidates. Likewise, the contours of the NOTA panel will be identical to that given to each candidate. In constituencies with 16 candidates in the fray, an extra EVM will be attached to the first balloting unit for the NOTA option as the EVMs currently in use can accommodate only 16 rows. The NOTA votes will be counted and indicated in the final result chart.

What was the SC verdict related to it?

The NOTA option was made mandatory by the Supreme Court so that people who did not want to vote for any of the candidates in their respective constituencies had the option of rejecting all of them without giving up their right to a secret vote.

What are the new steps taken by EC to implement it?

The EC has issued instructions for changes in the handbook for Returning Officers and in the various forms used for counting along with the final result sheet and the manual for Presiding Officers where the "None of the Above" votes should be tallied and mentioned.

It has cleared that in the extreme case of the NOTA option polling more votes than any of the candidates in the fray, the candidate who gets the maximum number of votes will be declared the winner.

The Rules 41(2), 41(3) and 49-O have been declared as ultra vires from the provisions of the Constitution and RP Act 51, the option under Rules 41 (2) and Rule 49-O shall not be available henceforth. 

What are the benefits of NOTA?

  1. It provides an option to reject all the candidates.

  2. It can reduce bogus voting.

  3. It may force political parties to field candidates of high integrity.

 


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