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NOTA: A NEGATIVE EXPRESSION AND A POSITIVE RIGHT

By Sneha Tripathi & Tanvi Jain

The Supreme Court gave the directions to the Election Commission of India to include ‘none of the above’ option in the voting ballot and is being considered by many as a harbinger of a revolution which intends to put voters at the center of democracy. The voters now have a Right to reject the candidates but it still doesn’t have a consequential duty arising out of it which leaves it redundant and a mere tool to express their discontent without any reformatory consequences that would change or improve the condition of Indian politics. In addition to that one of the major reasons given by the court for introducing NOTA was increasing transparency and flexibility where rejection can be done even without abstaining from voting.
The judgment has raised many questions and suspicions. This article tries to re-visit the ruling by the Apex Court which was on the issue of secrecy of a voting decision and went a little further by including cleansing of criminalization and increased voter’s participation thus trying to bring a positive restraint and the spirit of Constitution under Right to expression in the election system in India. We will try to understand the scenario of NOTA option in other countries and analyze its status as valid and invalid votes. A thorough explanation of the judgment and its actual implications in the contemporary electoral system will help in understanding the ground realities and prevalent perceptions about NOTA. Legal, moral, and social dilemmas surrounding NOTA pose a bleak future for it in the country and the article attempts to formulate some possible improvements which will be in consonance with its contemporary relevance.
Keywords: Supreme Court, Election Commission of India, election, judgment, NOTA.

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