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SC to hear Congress' plea against separate Rajya Sabha bypolls today

The Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant following the election of BJP chief Amit Shah and party leader Smriti Irani to Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and Amethi, respectively.

PTI|
Jun 19, 2019, 08.14 AM IST
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The Supreme Court of India (File Pic)
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear on June 19 a plea of Gujarat Congress challenging the decision of the Election Commission to hold separate bypolls to two Rajya Sabha seats in the state.

The Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant following the election of BJP chief Amit Shah and party leader Smriti Irani to Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and Amethi, respectively.

A vacation bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant agreed to list the matter on Wednesday after senior advocate Vivek Tankha mentioned it for urgent hearing. The petition filed by Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, Pareshbhai Dhanani, has sought a direction to the EC to hold the bypolls together.

A press note issued by the poll panel on June 15 scheduled the election for both the seats on July 5.

The EC clarified that 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.

In his plea, 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. He submitted that the poll panel be directed to hold simultaneous by-elections and polling for filling of all vacancies in all states, including Gujarat.

The MLA, through his lawyer, submitted that separate elections for the two RS seats in Gujarat would upset the scheme of proportional representation as mandated under the Representation of People Act.

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