Set Back To Congress: Supreme Court Refuses To Stay NOTA Option In Rajya Sabha Polls
New Delhi: The Congress party is facing a spate of setbacks of late. The latest being the Supreme Court refusing to immediately stay the ‘none of the above’(NOTA) option in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election scheduled on August 8 on Thursday. It may be recalled that the Congress approached the apex court on Wednesday seeking a stay on NOTA in Rajya Sabha elections.
While refusing to stay NOTA, the top court asked Congress, why it was raising the issue so late while the Election Commission had issued the notification as early as in January 2014. The petition was filed by Gujarat Congress Chief Whip SM Parmar.
The court also said the Rajya Sabha polls will be held and their results would be declared according to the schedule.
However, the apex court agreed to examine the Constitutional validity of the Election Commission’s notification giving the NOTA option in elections and asked the EC to file its response.
Due to resignations from the party in Gujarat, Congress is concerned about the win of its candidate, Ahmed Patel. The party also huddled its MLAs in a resort in Bengaluru so as to prevent the exodus from the party. The prime reason for the party approaching court is its fear of defeat.
In this context, the Congress alleged that the NOTA option has been brought with an aim to influence the result of the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election.
“The use of NOTA in an indirect election is contrary to the mandate of the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act, as well as the conduct of election rules,” the Congress memorandum to the poll panel said.
The party which was silent when the rules were made applicable by the EC in January 2014, i.e., when UPA was in power, now feels that the use of NOTA should have been made applicable through an amendment in laws rather than merely changing rules.
While the Congress approached court against NOTA, even BJP approached EC on Wednesday seeking the removal of NOTA option in the upcoming Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. Even BJP has high stakes as Party president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani are contesting from Gujarat.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission argues that they have incorporated e None Of The Above option in the EVMs after the Supreme Court in 2013 made it mandatory.