Tuesday, August 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

SC notices to Centre, EC, states & parties
Presidential reference on Gujarat poll
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
A five-Judge Constitution Bench headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice B.N. Kirpal hearing the Presidential reference under Article 143 on holding early elections to the Gujarat Assembly issued notices here today to the BJP-led NDA government, the Election Commission, all state governments and six national political parties.

The Bench made the notices returnable 72 hours later on Thursday because of the urgency involved in the matter. The Supreme Court will then fix the time schedule for advancing arguments by all parties concerned.

When Additional Solicitor-General Harish Salve, appearing for the Union Government, sought to draw the court’s attention to Article 174 of the Constitution submitting that the Gujarat Assembly had to be constituted by the October 2 deadline, the Bench observed “you don’t worry about that for the time being. We will work out a time schedule for hearing the reference on Thursday.”

When certain regional parties pleaded that they should also be given a chance to address the court on the reference, the Bench declined the pleas on the ground that it would be difficult to control the proceedings.

The six national parties to whom notices were sent today comprised the Congress, the BJP, CPM, CPI, Nationalist Congress Party and BSP. Except the BSP, all other political parties accepted the notices inside the court.

The three questions on which President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has sought the opinion of the Supreme Court are:

(A) Is Article 174 subject to the decision of the Election Commission of India under Article 324 as to the schedule of elections of the state Assembly?

(B) Can the Election Commission frame a schedule for the elections to an Assembly on the premise that any infraction of the mandate of Article 174 will be remedied by a resort to Article 356 of the President?

(C) Is the Election Commission under a duty to carry out the mandate of Article 174 of the Constitution, by drawing upon all requisite resources of the Union and the state to ensure free and fair elections? 


Gujarat bachao yatra

Ahmedabad, August 26
Gujarat is all set to witness a “Rath race” in September, with the Bharat Bachao Morcha also readying to take out a “rath yatra” throughout the state beginning next month. Chief Minister Narendra Modi would on September 3 lead BJP’s “Gujarat Gaurav Yatra” from Phagvel in Kheda district. PTI

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