Joint Polls not necessary to fill casual vacancies in Rajya Sabha, says EC on the plea of Congress presented for Gujarat Rajya Sabha seats


Recently a writ petition has been filed by Pareshbhai Dhanani, Congress MLA from Amreli and current Leader of the Opposition in Gujarat Assembly before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India contending the factum that, the scheme of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote to Rajya Sabha as mandated by the provisions of Article 80(4) of the Indian Constitution will be defeated if polls are not held simultaneously.

Therefore, W.P. (Civil) No. 774 of 2019 is pending before the Hon’ble Apex Court seeking decision for the conduct of joint polls to fill the vacancies in Rajya Sabha, which became vacant after Amit Shah & Smriti Irani won general lok sabha elections from Gandhinagar & Amethi, respectively.

IMAGE 1: Shri Amit Shah and Smt Smriti Zubin Irani (Left to Right) on whose election to Lok Sabha created the vacancies in the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat Assembly before the completion of their regular term.[1]

In the Counter Affidavit filed by the Election Commission of India on 24th June 2019 in the present case clearly refuted the claim of petitioners to conduct the Joint Polls of the 2 Rajya Sabha vacant seats on the following grounds:[2]

  1. that system of proportional representation does not require the holding of a joint election for separate vacant seats. Citing the Delhi High Court’s verdict in the case of Satyapal Malik v/s. ECI.
  2. That vacancy arising due to the election of a RS member to the LS as per Section 69(2) of the Act is a "casual vacancy".

The Affidavit quotes, "it is clear that the Act contemplates the conduct of separate elections for each casual vacancy that may arise from time to time".

  1. ECI while highlighting the case of A.K. Walia v/s. Union of India, which has upheld the holding of separate elections even for regular vacancies which arises after the completion of the term of the member.
  2. Moreover, the ECI has specifically quoted the operative excerpt from the Satyapal Malik’s case, which read as follows:

" in so far as casual vacancy is concerned holding of a joint election is not mandatory even if more than one casual vacancy occurred at about the same time”.

Thus, the case is still pending and the final decision to the same will be that of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in the present case and all eyes are up to the same.

The copy of the counter affidavit filed by the Election Commission of India can be retrieved by reaching the following link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c75NqOhH0SVoKjV96hP3Mf4T2M5GmjIC/view?usp=sharing.

[1] India Legal Bureau, SC to hear tomorrow plea against EC decision to hold two separate bypolls for two RS seats, INDIA LEGAL (June 25, 2019, 06:48 AM), http://www.indialegallive.com/constitutional-law-news/supreme-court-news/sc-to-hear-tomorrow-plea-against-ec-decision-to-hold-two-separate-bypolls-for-two-rs-seats-67169.

[2] Manu Sebastan, 'Joint Polls Not Necessary To Fill Casual Vacancies In Rajya Sabha'; ECI Responds To Congress Plea Against Separate Polls For Gujarat RS Seats, LIVE LAW (June 25, 2019, 06:43 AM), https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/joint-polls-not-necessary-to-fill-casual-vacancies-in-rajya-sabha-ec-reply-to-plea-by-congress-145881.


 
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