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Centre, EC move SC for vacating stay on RS poll
S S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 5
Aggrieved by the stay of election process for the Rajya Sabha polls by the Supreme Court yesterday on the issue of deletion of mandatory domicile clause for candidates in the election laws, the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) today moved applications before the apex court for vacating it.

After filing of the applications by the Law Ministry and the EC in the Supreme Court Registry, the applications were sent to Mr Justice B N Agrawal at his residence on the request of the government and the commission's counsel as they wanted an urgent hearing of the matter.

But Mr Justice Agrawal returned the applications with the instructions that a date for hearing the matter would be decided on June 7, government and EC counsel said.

The EC in its application contended that a notification for setting in motion the election process for June 21 Rajya Sabha polls to fill up over 60 seats, had been issued yesterday itself and the stay would amount to interfering in the poll process, which would go against the laid down laws in this regard.

Ms Justice Ruma Pal and Mr Justice B N Agrawal had granted the interim stay on noted journalist Kuldip Nayar's public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the deletion of the compulsory domicile clause in the Representation of People Act (RPA) by an amendment last year and also the provision of open ballot system for the Upper House election, provided by the amended law.

The court had listed the PIL for further hearing on June 14, while issuing notice to the EC, which was given liberty to move an application for modification of the stay order if it felt a need for it.

Nayar had said that deletion of mandatory domicile clause was an "assault" on the federalism as enshrined in the Constitution, which lays down that Rajya Sabha is a Council of States.

He accused main political parties - the Congress and the BJP - of joining hands to pass the RPA amendment Bill as they wanted to accommodate their defeated candidates in Rajya Sabha by nominating them from non-domicile states.

The Council of States could not be reduced to a "dumping ground" for defeated political leaders, he said, adding that this would amount to violation of the Constitution and striking at its basic structure, which could not be changed.

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