Pune: The State Election Commission (SEC) has sought legal opinion for conducting re-election for constituencies registering a high percentage of None of the Above (NOTA) votes.
SEC commissioner JS Saharia told TOI on Saturday that they have sought advice from the legal counsel regarding the issue as they have recorded increasing NOTA votes polled in corporation and even in panchayat polls. 

“We have already sought legal opinion on the issue. We are awaiting a final verdict and are also checking the provisions under the existing legal framework,” Saharia said.

In February this year, Maharashtra governor C Vidyasagar Rao had also called for deliberation over the role of NOTA votes in the polling system. “This demand was agreed upon by political parties and NGOs in meetings on electoral reforms,” SEC officials said.

A recent report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that works on political and electoral reforms had recommended re-elections in constituencies registering more NOTA votes. State government officials said the ECI has to take a final decision on the issue ahead of the Lok Sabha and assembly elections in 2019. “If there were any changes to be made, Maharashtra would be the first to bring in the reform for local elections,” they added.

Maharashtra ADR coordinator Sharad Kumar said if re-election is allowed for constituencies with more NOTA votes, it would give more value to such votes. “If it is possible to do it for local self-government, the ECI can do it too,” he added.

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