The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission of India on a plea seeking to direct the poll panel to nullify an election result and conducting a fresh poll if the maximum votes are for NOTA in a particular constituency. A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notices to the ministry of law and justice and the ECI while seeking their replies on the plea.
Senior advocate Maneka Guruswamy appeared for the petitioner. The top court was hearing a plea filed by advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay which also sought a direction to the Election Commission to restrict those candidates and political parties, whose election has been nullified, from taking part in the fresh polls. “The right to reject and elect a new candidate will give power to the people to express their discontent. If voters are dissatisfied with the background or performance of contesting candidate, they will opt for NOTA (none of the above) to reject such candidate and elect a new candidate,” the petition said.
“The Court may declare that if ‘none of the above’ gets maximum votes, then election to that constituency shall be nullified and a fresh election shall be held within six months; and the contesting candidates rejected in the nullified elections, shall not be allowed to participate in the fresh election,” the plea filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey said.
The plea said the percentage of candidates with criminal antecedents and their chances of winning has actually increased steadily over the years.