The Gujarat Congress on Monday moved a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Election Commission of India (ECI)’s decision to conduct separate by-elections for two Rajya Sabha seats that fell vacant after the election of BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani to the Lok Sabha. The notification for the election to be held on July 5, is scheduled to be issued on Tuesday.
The petition, filed by Paresh Dhanani, Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, is likely to be mentioned Tuesday morning before a vacation bench of the Supreme Court for urgent hearing.
Seeking that the ECI’s June 15 notification be set aside, Dhanani in his petition has sought that the ECI be directed to “expeditiously hold simultaneous elections against the vacancies created in the Rajya Sabha due to the election of Amit Shah and Smriti Irani to the Lok Sabha, in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act 1951 (RP Act)”.
Challenging the ECI’s reasoning of the vacancy of the two seats as ‘Casual Vacancy’ for conducting separate by-elections, Dhanani emphasised that “Section 69 (2) of the RP Act read with Section 67A and Section 68(4), makes it a Statutory Vacancy”.
“The Congress Legislative Party is minority in the Gujarat Assembly though it has the requisite numbers in the Assembly to proportionately elect member to the Council of States. The BJP…in order to have its party rule the Rajya Sabha…is trying to use the ECI’s Office to impede the mandate under RP Act to elect members to the Council of States…” the petition said.