None Of The Above (NOTA)

Why is it in News?

Due to the ongoing General Elections, NOTA is frequently seen in the news.

What is NOTA?

  • The NOTA option allows the voter to register a negative opinion about the candidates. In 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, the Election Commission demanded for the NOTA option on the EVMs but the government was against the demand.
  • But in 2013, the Supreme Court gave the right to the voters to register a negative opinion in the form of NOTA.

Before NOTA, how did a Voter Register a Negative Vote?

Earlier, in order to cast a negative ballot, a voter had to inform the presiding officer at the polling booth but the NOTA option now doesn't require the involvement of the presiding officer. The button of NOTA is available at the bottom of all the EVMs.

What was the Need of having NOTA?

The Supreme Court upheld the right of voters to reject all candidates contesting in the elections claiming it would go a long way in cleansing the political system of the country, as the parties will be compelled to give a candidate of repute to the voters.

Is NOTA an effective tool?

  • NOTA does have some negative aspects, but it has positive impacts too.
  • Example: In 2018, Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Elections, 1.4 percent of the total voters opted for NOTA, and 22 candidates lost by the margin of the votes which was less compared to the votes polled for NOTA. Such situations may gradually force the parties to give good candidates to the voters.

What if the Maximum Votes are cast for NOTA?

Even if the maximum numbers of votes are cast for NOTA, the candidate getting the most of the remaining votes would be declared a winner as in India we follow first-past-the-post electoral system. But, negative voting will force the parties to ponder on the quality of candidates which they are giving to the voters.

Is the NOTA Concept applicable to Elections in Rajya Sabha & Legislative Council?

The concept of NOTA is applicable in cases of Direct Elections, Elections to Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council is of indirect type.

Source: TH, PRS blog