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  • Context (IE): In Indore, the “None Of The Above” (NOTA) option received 2,18,674 votes (2nd place), the highest number of NOTA votes in any constituency to date.

What is NOTA and why is it implemented?

  • NOTA option enables a voter to register a vote of rejection of all contesting candidates officially.
  • NOTA option was introduced in the elections by the ECI on the directions of the Supreme Court in 2013 to protect voters’ right to secrecy and allow them to express their dissatisfaction with the candidates.


  • In 2004, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) approached the SC to protect voter secrecy, arguing that the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 violated this by recording non-voters’ details.
  • Government’s Argument: The right to vote is a statutory right, not a constitutional right and only voters who exercise their right to vote have a right to secrecy.
  • SC ruled that voter secrecy must be maintained regardless of voting, emphasising its importance for free and fair elections and directed the ECI to install a NOTA button in EVMs.
  • SC: It would reduce bogus voting and would compel political parties to field candidates with integrity.

Implications of NOTA

  • NOTA has no legal consequence; even if it receives the highest votes, the 2nd highest candidate wins.
  • It has never occurred in Lok Sabha elections; the Indore result suggests it remains a possibility.
  • Maharashtra, Haryana, Puducherry, Delhi, and Chandigarh have declared NOTA as a “Fictional Electoral Candidate” for local elections. If NOTA receives more votes than any candidate, fresh elections are held.
  • A petition (filed by Shiv Khera) in SC seeks to nullify elections if NOTA gets the highest votes, advocating disqualification of candidates with fewer votes than NOTA for five years from contesting elections.

Rule 49-O vs NOTA

Aspect Rule 49-O NOTA
  • Part of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
  • Introduced by ECI
  • Voter informs the presiding officer of the decision not to vote for any candidate.
  • Voter directly selects NOTA option on EVM to reject all candidates.
  • It is recorded in the voters list with their signature/thumb impression.
  • Voter’s rejection is confidential and not disclosed publicly.
Impact on Results
  • The voter is deemed to have abstained and is not included in the vote count.
  • Rejected votes are counted separately and do not affect the outcome directly.
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