NOTA (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     6th April 2024        

Context: In recent general elections, the utilization of the NOTA (None of the Above) option has witnessed a consistent decrease. This trend follows a Supreme Court directive in 2013, which mandated the inclusion of the NOTA button on electronic voting machines nationwide.


  • About: NOTA, meaning 'None of the Above', has been a key component of the Indian voting system for the last eight years.
  • Purpose: It allows voters to officially reject all candidates contesting in an election.
  • Supreme Court Ruling: The Supreme Court of India mandated the inclusion of the NOTA option in electronic voting machines on September 27, 2013.
  • First Usage of NOTA: It was first implemented in the 2013 assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi.
  • Objectives: Enable voters who don't support any candidate to express their rejection without revealing their choice.

oEnsure eligible voters can reject candidates they deem unworthy.

oUphold the right to vote by allowing disapproval to be registered.

  • Global Adoption of NOTA: Countries like Colombia, Ukraine, Brazil, Bangladesh, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Chile, France, Belgium, and Greece have adopted NOTA.
  • The US, particularly Texas since 1975, also allows NOTA in some cases, despite facing opposition.

NOTA in Rajya Sabha

  • Supreme Court's Interpretation: The Supreme Court clarified in 2018 that NOTA is intended solely for universal adult suffrage and direct elections, excluding polls conducted through proportional representation, such as those in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Contravention of Constitutional Provisions: Application of NOTA in Rajya Sabha elections was deemed contradictory to Article 80(4) of the Constitution and the precedent set by the Supreme Court in PUCL v Union of India (2013).
  • Undermining Fairness in Indirect Elections: NOTA's inclusion in Rajya Sabha elections undermines the fairness of indirect elections by disregarding the significance of an elector's role and compromises democratic principles.
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