Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar decided to freeze Congress’ plea to abolish None of the Above (NOTA) from the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. NOTA will continue to feature as an option on the ballot paper, which was introduced by Election Commission (EC) in 2014.
Senior advocate, Kapil Sabil, argued that NOTA will foment to be a recipe for corruption, and it was the court’s responsibility to stop the rot at the stems. He raised the concern that MLAs might cross vote once again, throwing party directives to thin air or invalidate their vote by exercising NOTA.
Closely observing Sibal’s apprehensions, Justice Roy asked Sibal whether Congress is already forecasting a defeat.
The bench also argued that NOTA has been in place since Jan 26, 2014 and it didn’t understand why Congress is filing a petition at the 11th hour.
Although the BJP has supported Congress’ claims regarding NOTA, they have maintained a strategic silence in SC on the issue.
Rajya Sabha elections are due on August 8, with ten seats up for grabs; one from Madhya Pradesh, three from Gujarat, and six from West Bengal.
After Nabam Rebia handed his resignation on Tuesday to ease the floor test by the Chief Minister Pema Khandu, moved the supreme court on Wednesday to review the decision by the constitution bench against him. The Supreme Court gave a decision that, under the anti-defection law, it is constitutionally forbidden for the speaker to give any decision on the plea for disqualification of lawmakers.
The judgment of the constitution bench is questioned regarding the role and power of the assembly speaker. Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur said there was inconsistency in the judgment regarding the role of the speaker, reported ANI.
Lawyer and Rajya Sabha member, Kapil Sibal, came forward in support of Rebia and informed the apex court that a review has already been filed regarding the same.
Meanwhile, former deputy speaker Tsering Norbu Thongdok , succeeded Rebia as the eleventh speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh assembly on Wednesday. After being elected Thongdok said that he will uphold the sanctity and dignity of the House and everybody will be given equal opportunity irrespective of their party affiliation , reported PTI.
According to the Government, the political parties in India are to be kept out of the circuit of the Right to Information (RTI) act, which is strongly opposed by Kapil Sibal. “We get elected by the people. We have to reveal whatever donations we receive to the Election Commission. It is not as if the donations to the parties are unaccounted for,” said the Law Minister.
The issue came into the news when the Cabinet on Thursday approved the amendment of keeping the political parties out of the circle of the RTI, after the Central Information Commission stated that six political parties are a part of the public sector, and hence are exposed to declare their accounts under the RTI act. According to Sibal, since the political parties do not “operate under a veil of secrecy, this could also be made public.”