It is the time to take significant steps with regard to validation of NOTA (None of the above) votes, which was introduced in Indian elections exactly five years ago.
It was introduced through the Supreme Court's judgment dated 27th September 2013. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW), which have analysed the NOTA votes' pattern during last five years, recommended that no candidates should be declared as elected, if in any constituency the votes polled for NOTA are higher than all the contesting candidates.
Further, they also suggested that fresh election should be conducted, in which none of the earlier candidates should be allowed to contest, and in the fresh elections, only a candidate who gets at least 50%+1 of the votes cast should be declared elected. In the last 5 years, NOTA has secured 1.33 crores votes in State Assemblies and Lok Sabha Election combined. On an average NOTA has secured 2.70 lakhs votes in the State Assembly Elections. In the bye- elections in Goa, NCT of Delhi and Andhra Pradesh, a large number of people voted for NOTA, making its vote share the third or fourth highest in the respective constituencies. In the 2017 Goa Bye-election in Panaji and Valpoi constituencies, NOTA secured the third position with 301(1.94%) and 458(1.99%) votes, respectively. In the 2017 NCT of Delhi Bye-election in Bawana constituency, NOTA secured the fourth position with 1,413 (1.07%) votes. In the 2017 Andhra Pradesh Bye election in Nandyal constituency, NOTA secured the fourth position with 1,231(0.71%) votes. It secured more votes than 12 other candidates contesting from the constituency. In 2014, NOTA was first introduced in Lok Sabha Elections. Overall, NOTA secured 60,02,942 (1.08%) votes. Among the NOTA votes in Lok Sabha elections, the highest number of votes i.e. 46,559 was in Nilgris constituency in Tamil Nadu. The lowest number of votes NOTA secured i.e. 123 votes was in Lakshadweep. Among state assemblies elections, NOTA has secured the highest percentage of votes in 2015, i.e. 2.08% (9, 83,176 votes) in 2 states assembly elections of Bihar (9, 47,279 votes), NCT Delhi (35,897 votes). NOTA has secured lowest percentage of votes in 2014, i.e. 0.91% ( 14,10,644 votes) in 8 states assembly elections (combined) of Andhra Pradesh (3,08,286 votes), Arunachal Pradesh (5,322 votes), Haryana (53,613 votes), Jammu and Kashmir (49,129 votes), Jharkhand (2,35,039 votes), Maharashtra (4,83,459 votes), Odisha (2,71,336 votes) and Sikkim (4,460 votes). Since its implementation in 2013, NOTA has secured the highest number of votes in Bihar (9, 47,279 votes) State Assembly Elections, 2015 and secured the lowest number of votes in Mizoram (3,810 votes) State Assembly Elections, 2013. NOTA secured the highest percentage of vote share i.e. 3.06% in Chhattisgarh State Assembly, 2013. NOTA secured the lowest percentage of vote share i.e. 0.40% in Delhi State Assembly Elections, 2015. Constituency wise, NOTA has secured as high as 17,510 votes in Gadchiroli constituency of Maharashtra and as low as 7 votes in Mariyang Geku constituency of Arunachal Pradesh . In few constituencies of Arunachal Pradesh such as Mukto, Dirang, Seppa West,Pakke Kessang, Doimukh, Sagalee, Palin, Nyapin, Nacho, Taliha and Mebo, NOTA has secured no votes. Red Alert Constituencies are those which have 3 or more candidates with criminal cases contesting elections. NOTA has secured 22, 94,904 votes (22.94 lakhs) in the red alert constituencies in State assembly elections since 2013. NOTA has secured the highest percentage of votes in red alert constituencies of Chhattisgarh. NOTA secured 2.68% votes (39,896) in 10 red alert constituencies of Chhattisgarh. Among the Municipal Corporations elections of Delhi and Maharashtra, NOTA secured the highest percentage of vote share i.e., 4.58% in Ulhasnagar and the lowest percentage of vote share i.e. 0.58% in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation. NOTA secured 49,235 votes in Delhi Municipal Elections, 2017. In the northern region, NOTA secured the highest number of votes, i.e. 19762 votes. In each of the Municipal Corporations of Maharashtra, NOTA has secured more than 1.5% votes.