Hyderabad based rights groups have urged Telangana’s State Election Commission (SEC) to include NOTA option in upcoming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, which is scheduled to commence on February 2, 2016.
Jeevan Kumar, President of Human Rights Forum, Telangana & AP, Dr Babu Rao, President of Human Rights Forum, Hyderabad, Retd IRS V Sai Prasad Sastry and Dr Lubna Sarwath of Hum-Hyderabadi:a movement have written to the SEC for inclusion of NOTA option.
“We fail to understand the premise for the announcement by Govt of Telangana on 23 Jan 2016, that NOTA option is not available to the 70 lac Hyderabadi citizens who exercise their vote for much awaited GHMC elections on 2 Feb 2016,” they said.
“Are not GHMC elections under the ambit of constitution, Supreme court and Election Commission of India?,” the questioned while adding that “taking away the citizens’ right to NOTA is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and total violation of fundamental rights granted by Constitution and affirmed by Supreme Court time and again. It is also contempt of Surpeme Court order.”
The Supreme Court had granted right to NOTA on September 27, 2013 following a petition filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and enforced by Election Commission of India (ECI) in 2014 General Elections across India.
They also urged the SEC to restore NOTA option and make prompt announcement to that effect as a top priority, while assuring coordination in ensuring honest governance characterized with utmost transparency, judicious responsibility and accountability, for well being of society.
“As conscious and constitution-abiding citizens we cannot accept EVM/ballots that do not contain NOTA option.”