The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Central government and the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a plea seeking directions to nullify the election results of a particular constituency and hold fresh polls, if maximum votes are polled in favour of None of The Above (NOTA) option in that constituency.
The plea filed by BJP leader and lawyer, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay also sought directions to restrict those candidates who took part in such nullified elections, from taking part in the fresh elections.
The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the Centre and the ECI.
The CJI, however, said that it could present a peculiar problem in that it could leave the concerned constituency unrepresented impeding the functioning of the parliament/ assembly.
“If a political party due to its influence have candidates rejected, then seats will remain unfilled in parliament. What will happen then?” he asked.
Senior Advocate Dr. Menaka Guruswamy, appearing for the petitioner, noted that “the very fact that you have right to reject will enforce political parties to field such candidates who will not be rejected.”
The CJI, however, observed that the “underlying suggestion was difficult to accept.”
The court will now hear this matter after four weeks.
The petition filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey contended that political parties choose contesting candidates in a very undemocratic manner without consulting electors. Due to the same, many times people in the constituency are totally unhappy with the candidates presented before them.
The plea said the percentage of candidates with criminal antecedents and their chances of winning has actually increased steadily over the years.
“The injury caused to public is extremely large and continue till date, as the right to reject is an integral part of Article 19, but the Centre and ECI did nothing to declare the election result invalid and hold fresh election if maximum votes are polled in favour of NOTA,” it added.
The plea prayed that if NOTA gets maximum votes, then election to that constituency should be nullified and a fresh election shall be held within six months and none of the candidates who contested in the nullified polls be allowed to participate in the fresh election.