The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Election Commission of India and Central Government to file their response in a petition seeking direction to the ECI that it should use its plenary power conferred under Article 324 to nullify the election result and hold a fresh election, if maximum votes have been cast for NOTA in a particular constituency.
The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian asked if the bench considers the prayer of the petitioner to nullify the invalidated election, then how will Parliament work till the next election?
Petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay is an Advocate and Social- political activist striving for the development of the socially-economically downtrodden. Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the concept of NOTA will be ineffective because if in a constituency, if there are 100 voters and 99 vote for NOTA and a candidate gets 1 vote, then that candidate wins with one vote making NOTA unfruitful.
CJI Bobde said that it is a constitutional problem and goes on to say that if the arguments of the petitioner is accepted and if certain number of votes have been polled in favour of NOTA in a particular constituency and no one is elected from that constituency, then no one will be there to represent that constituency in the Parliament and it may also become a case that in similar manner many other constituencies will go unrepresented therefore how will Parliament work effectively.
Guruswamy replied that in such constituency a fresh election should be conducted.
CJI Bobde said the bench finds it very difficult to conduct elections again and again. Still the Court issued notice in the matter to discuss this subject further in detail.
The petitioner also prayed in its petition that ECI should have to restrict the contesting candidates from taking part in the fresh election, who have participated in the invalidated election.
The Cause of Action accrued on 1.7.2019 when petitioner came to know that 43% MPs have criminal cases. This is causing irreversible harm to both the noble profession and public interest.
The injury caused to public is extremely large and continues till date, as the right to reject integral part of Article 19 but Centre and ECI did nothing to declare result invalid and hold fresh election.
The petitioner submitted, “There is no need to approach ECI and Centre again because they did nothing on the Representation dated 27.11.2017, there is no remedy available except approaching Apex Court again under Article 32.
The petitioner has further submitted that Right to Reject will control corruption, criminalization, casteism, communalism, linguism, regionalism and nepotism as political parties would be forced to give tickets to good candidates.