49-0, None Of The Above (NOTA) and Right To Reject (RTR)

Difference between 49-0, None Of The Above (NOTA) and Right To Reject (RTR): It should be noted that recent judgment by Supreme Court on the demand to provide for negative voting through a button on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) for None of the Above or NOTA option does not correspond to Right To Reject.

What is NOTA?

NOTA stands for None Of The Above.

What happens if NOTA gets majority in an election?


Nothing. If NOTA gets majority, that will not translate to re-election or to a condition where the constituency remain vacant, as NOTA is not the right to reject. The next candidate with maximum votes will win the election. So then what is the use of NOTA?

NOTA is the right to register a negative opinion, in secrecy, at the age of electronic voting. The NOTA votes will be counted as invalid votes. NOTA encourages voters to exercise their voting rights. It also avoids false voting in the names of those who don’t turn up. But the clue here is secrecy, which was not available with 49-O.

Aapart from the secracy aspect, NOTA will put pressure political parties to nominate only good candidates, as if the number of invalid votes increase, it can de-balance their calculations.

What is rule 49-O?

According to Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 rule 49-O says that “Elector deciding not to vote.-If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.”

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The difference between 49-O and NOTA is that 49-O does not provide secrecy. But having said that, the best option was right to reject. Then what is it?

What is Right To Reject (RTR)?

Right To Reject is a condition when Rejection/Negative Votes win majority, it results in re-election.

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