Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Posted at: Jun 20, 2019, 6:50 AM; last updated: Jun 20, 2019, 10:03 AM (IST)

SC notice to poll panel on Gujarat RS bypolls

Cong leader challenges separate polls on two seats

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 19

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Election Commission on a Gujarat Congress leader’s petition challenging the poll panel’s decision to hold separate bypolls to two Rajya Sabha seats that fell vacant after BJP chief Amit Shah and party leader Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha.

A Vacation Bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta asked the EC to respond to the petition filed by Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly Pareshbhai Dhanani by June 24 and posted it for further hearing on June 25.

While Shah was elected to the Lower House from Gandhinagar, Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi to make it to the Lok Sabha from Amethi constituency. Shah is the Union Home Minister and Irani has been given the charge of the Women and Child Development Ministry.

On June 15, the EC announced that bypoll for both seats will be held on July 5. The vacancies for bypolls to all Houses, including Rajya Sabha, are considered “separate vacancies” and separate notifications are issued and separate polls are held, though the schedule can be the same, it clarified.

The EC had cited two Delhi High Court rulings of 1994 and 2009 which supported the system of holding separate bypolls in the same state under provisions of the Representation of the People Act.

Whether these vacancies fell under the purview of casual vacancies or statutory vacancies needed to be considered, the Bench noted.

On Tuesday, the top court had agreed to take up the matter on June 19 after senior advocate Vivek Tankha sought urgent hearing of the petition filed by Gujarat Congress leader Pareshbhai Dhanani seeking a direction to the EC to hold the bypolls together.

An MLA from Amreli constituency, Dhanani has sought a direction to quash and declare the poll panel’s order as “unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, void ab initio” and said it violated Article 14 of the Constitution.

Vacated by Amit Shah, Smriti Irani

  • The seats fell vacant after BJP chief Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha
  • While Shah was elected from Gandhinagar, Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi from Amethi constituency


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