HC directs Election Commission of India; Rajya Sabha elections for Kerala to be held with present assembly

Kerala high court law insider)

Kareena Eugene

On Monday, the Kerala High Court directed the Election Commission of India to hold elections for three Rajya Sabha seats for Kerala during the term of present assembly.

A single bench, Justice PV Asha, directed the elections to three seats which will turn vacant on April 21st 2021, to be held before 2nd of May.

The issue concerns the Rajya Sabha seats of Indian Union Muslim League’s Abdul Vahab, CPI(M)’s KK Ragesh and Congress’s Vayalar Ravi, who are retiring on 21st April.

The Court in its verdict stated that, “On an overall reading of the provisions contained in Rule 14, 30, 39, etc of the RP Act read with the provisions contained in Article 80(4) of the Constitution of India it can only be concluded that the intention is not to keep the seats unfilled but to complete the process of election before the retirement of the members, so as to have the full strength of members in the Upper House to represent the State. A different view is warranted only when there is any law-and-order situation or any practical impossibility”.

The Court further observed that the Election Commission, an independent body as per the Article 324 of the Indian Constitution, cannot be expected to be affected by a reference from the Union Ministry.

On 30th March 2021, the Standing Counsel of the ECI had made a statement that the elections are to be held during the term of the present assembly term itself. However, after the Court recorded that statement in its order, the Standing Counsel immediately changed their stance.

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