SC refers to voting in Parliament, says ABSTAIN similar to NOTA

One of the reasons the Supreme Court cited in allowing introduction of right to cast negative vote by rejecting all candidates contesting the polls is that lawmakers have an option to abstain from voting in Parliament.

Last Updated: Sep 27, 2013, 19:09 PM IST

New Delhi: One of the reasons the Supreme Court on Friday cited in allowing introduction of right to cast negative vote by rejecting all candidates contesting the polls is that lawmakers have an option to abstain from voting in Parliament.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam observed that the option of `none of the above` (NOTA) in the Electronic Voting Machines and ballot papers is similar to the option of `ABSTAIN` mentioned in voting machines in Parliament.

The bench, also comprising justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi, referred to the three options -- AYES, NOES, and ABSTAIN -- given in voting machines in Parliament and said the NOTA option would effectively enable a voter to say he or she is abstaining from voting.

"Therefore, it can be seen that an option has been given to the members to press the ABSTAIN button. Similarly, the NOTA button being sought for by the petitioners is exactly similar to the ABSTAIN button since by pressing the NOTA button the voter is in effect saying that he is abstaining from voting since he does not find any of the candidates to be worthy of his vote," the bench said.

It said the option of NOTA should be given at the end of the column containing name of the candidates.

PTI