New Delhi: On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of India said that the option of ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) cannot be allowed in the Rajya Sabha elections.

The Election Commission's notification allowing NOTA option in the ballot papers for Rajya Sabha polls was put aside by a bench of Chief Justice Deepak Mishra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. The apex court questioned the poll panel’s notification and said that NOTA was supposed to be exercised by individual voters in direct polls.

Shailesh Manubhai Parmar, Congress chief whip in Gujarat Assembly, had challenged the poll panel’s notification allowing the NOTA option. It was argued that by allowing the NOTA option, the act of not voting was being legitimised. 

Parmar said that if the NOTA option was allowed in the Rajya Sabha polls, it would encourage ‘horse-trading and corruption’.

In a statement to the Supreme Court, Parmar had said, “The system of NOTA makes the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote nugatory… and cannot be made applicable in Rajya Sabha elections. The use of NOTA cannot be sanctioned by way of the impugned circular which has the effect of overriding the provisions of Article 80(4), the provisions of The Representation of the People Act 1951 and the Conduct of Election Rules 1961”.

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to register a NOTA vote would be applicable in elections, and in the 2014 general elections, NOTA garnered 1.1% of the total votes.