The Kerala High Court asked the Election Commission to hold the elections to the three Rajya Sabha seats from the state, which are to fall vacant soon, before the term of the present assembly is over. This means that the elections should be held before May 2, when the result of the recently held Assembly election will be announced, reports Live Law. The Rajya Sabha seats are falling vacant on April 21.
A single bench of the court, chaired by Justice PV Asha, passed the order on two petitions by the secretary of the Kerala Legislative Assembly and S Sharma, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader. The petitions challenged the ECâ€™s decision to keep in abeyance the elections for the three seats.
The Election Commission had earlier submitted before the Court that the date of elections would be notified before the retirement of the three Rajya Sabha members on April 21. Initially it had proposed the elections for April 12. However, it later postponed the election, mentioning a reference received from the Union Ministry of Law and Justice. The EC stated that the Union Ministry expressed concern over the election being held on April 12 as suggested earlier, since the popular will as expressed in the April 6 Assembly election may not be reflected. The EC had therefore to revisit the matter.
The Court reserved judgment on April 9, on the petitions challenging the ECâ€™s decision, after hearing the arguments of the lawyers for the petitioners as well as the ECâ€™s standing counsel.
The sitting members of the Assembly could elect members to the three seats in Rajya Sabha, said the Court.
The ECâ€™s counsel had argued in Court that the Representation of Peoples Act only deemed it necessary to notify elections before the occurrence of vacancies, not necessarily to conduct it by then.
Meanwhile, the Union government denied that there was any â€śarm-twistingâ€ť from its part.
The three Rajya Sabha seats that will become vacant are of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader Abdul Vahab, CPI(M) leader KK Ragesh and Congress leader Vayalar Ravi.