The Election Commission of India on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the elected representatives as voters in the Rajya Sabha polls were not bound by the law to vote in the manner desired by their parties, Indian Express reported. The EC referring to a decision rendered by SC in 2006 Kuldip Nayar case said in an affidavit that there is no mandate under the law that a certain manner decided by the political party has to be followed by the elector while voting. According to the affidavit, the Election Commission said, “there is no mandate under the law that an elector must vote in the manner decided by the political party to which he belongs and that he has no right to not vote for any candidate if he so wishes under section 79(d) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as no disqualification is mandated for cross voting thereon in any election to Council of States”.
The affidavit was filed in response to a plea by the Gujarat Congress which challenged the introduction of NOTA in the Rajya Sabha polls which was recently held in the state. The EC further explaining said that elections are governed by The Representation of the People Act which made no distinction between direct or indirect polling. The apex court asserted that every voter has the right to vote or not vote. The Election Commission also mentioned that 2017 Gujarat election was not the first time NOTA was being used in upper House polls. In 201, the affidavit mentioned, in the PUCL case NOTA was recognised and it was also directed to be introduced in ballot papers and EVMs.