Decision to hold RS polls in Kerala will be taken strictly within legislative framework: EC

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI) A day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan questioned the 'political intervention' behind the EC's decision to put in abeyance the schedule for the Rajya Sabha election to three seats from the state, the poll panel on Friday said a call on holding the election will shortly be taken by it strictly within the existing legislative framework.

The Election Commission (EC) also said the Union law ministry has 'no remit' to make recommendations on the schedule of Rajya Sabha elections.

The EC issued a statement on Wednesday, saying, 'The commission...had announced schedule for biennial election for three seats to Council of States (Rajya Sabha) from Kerala.... In the meanwhile, a reference has been received from the Ministry of Law and Justice. Pending examination of the reference, the commission has decided to keep the aforementioned proposed notification and schedule in abeyance till further orders.' In a tweet on Thursday, Vijayan said the election to the three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala was put in abeyance. 'ECI says Law Ministry recommended so. Art. 324 (of the Constitution) vests the power to conduct the election only in the ECI. Why the political intervention? Why has ECI succumbed to it? Indian Constitution has been violated, yet again!' A spokesperson of the poll watchdog responded to Vijayan's charge on Twitter on Friday, saying the 'decision of conducting elections to the 3 Rajya Sabha seats in Kerala will be shortly taken by ECI strictly within the existing legislative framework including provisions of RP (Representation of the People) Act, 1951.

'M/o Law & Justice has no remit to make recommendation on schedule of RS elections.' Sources aware of the issue had said on Wednesday that the law ministry had pointed out that the polls to elect a new legislative Assembly in Kerala would be held on April 6.

Is it legally tenable to hold an exercise, where the members of an outgoing Assembly vote on April 12 to elect Rajya Sabha members, whereas the polls to elect a new Assembly would have already taken place on April 6, the law ministry had asked.

The election to the three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala falling vacant next month was to be held on April 12.

Abdul Wahab of the IUML, K K Ragesh of the CPI(M) and Vayalar Ravi of the Congress are retiring on April 21. The notification for the biennial elections was to be issued on Wednesday.

The members of the legislative assembly elect the Rajya Sabha members. The MLAs of the outgoing Assembly, in which the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) has a majority, were to elect the three new members of the Upper House of Parliament.

The Kerala Assembly polls will be held on April 6 and the counting of votes will be taken up on May 2.

Rajya Sabha elections are usually held before the expiry of the terms of the retiring members. PTI NAB RC