The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the None Of The Above, or NOTA, option can be used only in direct elections and not in elections to the Rahya Sabha, ANI reported. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud delivered the verdict, Bar & Bench reported.

On July 30, the court reserved its verdict on a petition challenging an Election Commission notification allowing NOTA in ballot papers for elections to the Upper House. Shailesh Parmar, the Congress’ chief whip in the Gujarat Assembly during the 2017 Rajya Sabha polls, had filed the petition.

The poll panel told the court during proceedings that the provision had been granted on the basis of a Supreme Court order. The judges, however, questioned the Election Commission, saying a legislator has to vote according to the whip issued by their party. “Why should a constitutional court be party to an unconstitutional act?” the judges asked. “If a person does not vote, he could be expelled by the party. But by introducing NOTA, you [the Election Commission] are legitimising the act of not voting.”

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, opposed the poll panel’s notification and reiterated that a member of the Upper House is bound by the decisions of their respective party.