There is no provision in the Constitution or the country’s election laws which mandate a single election to fill up vacancies arising in the Upper House of Parliament, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told the Supreme Court on Monday in response to a plea challenging his election from Gujarat.
“There is no provision in the Constitution or under the Representation of People Act which prescribes for the mandatory requirement of conducting election through single by-election, and therefore there is no violation of any law in the facts and circumstances of the present case,” he said, opposing the plea by Congress leader Gaurav Pandya, who has challenged the Gujarat High Court order dismissing his election petition. The minister said this in an affidavit filed before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, which adjourned the case for detailed hearing in the third week of January next year.
Pandya had assailed Jaishankar’s election, contending that in violation of the law, the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued two separate notifications for holding by-polls for casual and regular vacancies for Rajya Sabha.
The matter relates to ECI’s decision to hold separate polls for the two Rajya Sabha seats vacated by Union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani. Jaishankar said that it is wrong to say that the procedure adopted by the ECI to notify elections separately for the vacancies arising on two different dates was not correct. He referred to the ECI stand in a 2019 case in which the poll panel said that joint election is not mandatory if more than one casual vacancy occurred at about the same time.
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