All you need to know about NOTA: Possibility of Re-election if NOTA gets more votes than the contesting candidates

Posted on 2018-11-09 23:02:29 by Ujjwal Kumar

Summary

NOTA votes don’t affect the outcomes of an election at present. To give greater sanctity to NOTA and even order a fresh election, Rule 64 of Election Commission will have to be amended and can be done by the law ministry and will not require Parliament sanction.

The MSEC (Maharashtra State Election Commission) in a significant move contended that “If no contesting candidate secures more vote than the NOTA (None of the Above), then re-election would be conducted.”

Municipalities’ elections starting from November 9 in Ahmednagar and Dhule of North Maharashtra would be the testimony of this trend-setting move.

ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms) in its report on NOTA published on March 8, 2018, has also recommended that “if in any constituency the votes polled in NOTA are higher than all contesting candidates then the following action should be taken:

  1. No candidate should be declared as the winner.
  2. A fresh election should be conducted in which none of the earlier candidates should be allowed to contest.
  3. In the fresh polls, only the candidate who gets 50%+1 votes should be declared the winner.

The commission which is entrusted with responsibilities to conduct elections in rural and urban local bodies was also reportedly, among first to introduce NOTA option in local body elections, two days after Supreme Court’s verdict on 27th September 2013.                                       

Inspired by the move of MSEC, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has, in stride into direction seek to know the opinion of political parties on the matter. Rule 64 of Election Commission of India which deals with the declaration of Results and returns, states “the returning officer shall declare the candidate to whom the largest number of valid votes have been given, to be elected” is in contestation.

In current norm, a candidate who secures more vote than his fellow competitors in the election is declared the winner, it is applicable even when majority votes are for NOTA. An implicit meaning worth noting is that NOTA votes don’t affect the outcomes of an election at present.

You can view the full statement here.

ADR in its detailed report on NOTA votes has brought out interesting facts and figures:

  • 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 Nilgiris constituency in Tamil Nadu. The lowest number of votes NOTA secured i.e. 123 votes was in Lakshadweep.

  • Since its implementation in 2013 highest number on NOTA votes has been polled in Bihar 9,47,279 votes and least in Mizoram 3,897 votes. 

  • 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).
  • 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.

  • 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. (Red alert districts are those in which three or more candidates with criminal affiliations are contesting elections.)

  • 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.
  • In each of the Municipal Corporations of Maharashtra, NOTA has secured more than 1.5% votes.

Election Commission of India is currently reading the decision of MSEC and the legalities involved in. As per the report published by Economic Times, EC (Election Commission) currently has no plenary powers to call for a fresh election even if NOTA secures highest votes. To give greater sanctity to NOTA and even order a fresh election, Rule 64 will have to be amended and can be done by the law ministry. It will not require Parliament sanction.



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