Election process for 3 RS seats from Kerala to be decided in 'one or two days': EC to HC

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Kochi, Mar 29 (PTI) The Election Commission on Monday informed the Kerala High Court that the election process for the three Rajya Sabha seats from the State will be initiated soon as per the statutory schedule.

The Election Commission made this submission on pleas filed by the State Legislative Assembly and ruling CPI (M) in the state, challenging the EC's decision to keep in abeyance proceedings for the proposed election to three vacancies from the state in the Rajya Sabha.

The election to the 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 last.

When the matter was taken up today, standing counsel for the EC submitted that the dates of the biennial election will be decided shortly, 'within one or two days'.

The court directed the poll panel to file a written statement in this regard.

The case has been posted for Tuesday for consideration.

Counsel for the state legislative assembly secretary submitted that the poll panel had initially announced that the elections for the three seats will be held on April 12 but later through a press note, the commission said it is kept in abeyance following a communication received from the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.

The counsel argued that the Union Law Ministry has no right to interfere with the decision taken by the Election Commission, an independent constitutional body.

The ECI standing counsel submitted that the EC has not published the notification for the polls in terms of Section 12 of The Representation of The People Act.

In its plea, the state assemblysubmitted that withholding of the election process will leave much scope for its 'abuse' and the state will be left with three representatives less to represent the aspirations and wishes of its residents in the Council of States.

Moreover,it will adversely affect the legislators of the 14th Kerala Legislative Assembly, insofar as they will be denied an opportunity of electing three representatives to the Council of States, the assembly added.

On Sunday, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had raised suspicion over the EC decision to keep in abeyance the elections, and called it 'unconstitutional'.PTI COR TGB BN BN