Mains Paper 2: Polity | Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: NOTA option
Mains level: Reforms in election process
The SC scraps NOTA
- The Supreme Court scrapped the use of NOTA (none of the above) option for Rajya Sabha polls, saying it would usher back the “Satan of defections.”
- A Bench, led by CJI held that the option is meant only for universal adult suffrage and direct elections and not elections held by the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote as done in the Rajya Sabha.
- The option of NOTA may serve best in direct elections but in the election to the Council of States, it would not only undermine the purity of democracy but also serve the Satan of defection and corruption.
Why is NOTA Counterproductive?
- The court pointed out that in the voting in Rajya Sabha elections, there is a whip and the elector is bound to obey the command of the party.
- The court observed that while NOTA option looks attractive in Rajya Sabha polls, it actually harms an electoral process where open ballot is permissible and party discipline reigns.
- Moreover where the elector’s vote has value and the value of the vote is transferable.
- The party discipline in this kind of election is of extreme significance, for that is the fulcrum of the existence of parties.
- The Court held that NOTA in an indirect election would not only run counter to the discipline expected from an elector under the Tenth Schedule but also be “counterproductive to the basic grammar of the law of disqualification on the ground of defection.”
- NOTA will destroy the concept of value of a vote and representation and encourage defection that shall open the doors for corruption which is a malignant disorder.
- This have the effect of overriding the provisions of Article 80(4) — proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, the provisions of Representation of People Act 1951 and the Conduct of Election Rules 1961.