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Why NOTA is useless in its current form and not an option till it is amended?
Voters in India have been given an option for the first time in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections to mark their voting preference as NOTA (None Of The Above), in case they do not wish to vote for any of the candidates contesting the election in their constituency.

Government was earlier reluctant to introduce this option. As the Government was not inclined to introduce NOTA, the People‚Äôs Union for Civil Liberties filed a petition in the Supreme Court and after the Court gave its judgment in favor of NOTA, Government proceeded to introduce the same in the Electronic Voting Machines. 

When this was done, there was a sense of achievement and everybody was of the view that this option will eventually empower the voters to accept or reject any or all the candidates contesting the elections and this will lead to a situation where political parties will be forced to field the candidates with clean image, fearing their rejection by the voters through NOTA.

The UPA Government was smart enough to accept the Supreme Court judgment, without providing any backup legislation to support the same. In the absence of any follow-up legislation, which the Supreme Court cannot introduce, the effect of NOTA may be the opposite of what is intended.

We will understand this with the help of an example. Assuming that there are three different candidates A,B and C , fielded by three different political parties and all of them have criminal background. The constituency, from where these candidates are contesting, have total 100000 voters. Assuming further that there is 100% voting, 90000 voters exercise the NOTA option and the remaining 10000 voters cast their votes in favor of the different candidates in the following manner:

Candidate A: 3333

Candidate B: 3333

Candidate C: 3334

Tota: 10,000

Under the present NOTA rules, Candidate-C will be declared as elected, having secured the maximum number of votes, irrespective of the fact that majority of voters have rejected, not only him but all other candidates contesting the election. By declaring the Candidate-C as elected, the very purpose of introducing the NOTA gets defeated. Even otherwise, this looks very ridiculous that out of a total voter population of 100000, candidate securing just 3334 votes is getting elected.

In all probability, the UPA Government has done this deliberately with a view to defeat the very purpose of introducing the NOTA. If the Government was truly interested in implementation of the same to clean the political system, it could have provided sensible and logical rules to govern the NOTA.

By pure common sense, when more than 50% voters in any constituency opt for NOTA, the election of that particular constituency should be cancelled and all the candidates should be banned for life to contest the elections as they have been rejected by the majority of voters. Surprisingly, at present, there is no such threshold limit provided and as illustrated in the above example, even after the rejection of all the candidates by 90% voters, the election of the constituency is not cancelled and the candidate just securing 3334 votes out of total voter population of 100000 gets elected by default.

Unless and until PUCL or some NGO again approaches the Court for its intervention, no Government will frame the necessary legislation to stop this unwarranted situation, as the current situation suits to all the political parties as they are able to get their candidates elected by securing very few votes as we have seen in the example given above.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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