A two-judge bench of the High Court comprising acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria today ordered the SEC to implement NOTA and directed the state to provide all the required assistance.

The High Court today modified its earlier order in which the court had, in August, stayed the provisions of compulsory voting in local body polls as sections of NOTA and compulsory voting were conjoined in the three acts pertaining to Panchayat, Municipal and Corporation polls.

As the High Court had stayed implementation of compulsory voting and NOTA, the state election commission had this time not included the option of NOTA for voters. This was challenged before the court by city based advocate K R Koshti.

"Considering the facts and decision of the Supreme Court (regarding implementation of NOTA), we find that Right to vote in favour of none of the candidate is one of the right of voters and it is so identified and strengthened by the Apex Court. Therefore interim stay (on compulsory voting) relief granted deserves to be modified to that extent (for inclusion of NOTA)," said the High Court.

"However on the aspect of apprehension voiced by the State Election Commission for the difficulties on account of modification of this order, we find it should be expected for SEC to encourage more freedom on the part of the voters. Difficulties cannot be equated with impossibilities," the court said.

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