New Delhi, Dec 14 | External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has told the Supreme Court that under the Constitution or the election law, there is no provision, which prescribes the mandatory requirement of conducting by-elections to Rajya Sabha seats, which fell vacant on separate dates, through a single poll.
The affidavit filed by Jaishankar said: “It is submitted that there is not provision under the Constitution or under the Representation of People Act which prescribes for mandatory requirement of conducting election through a single by-election and therefore there is no violation of any law in the facts and circumstances of the present case.”
His response has come to a petition by Congress leader Gaurav Pandya challenging his Rajya Sabha election.
After a brief hearing in the matter on Monday, a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde adjourned the case for detailed hearing in the third week of January 2021.
The apex court had earlier observed that it would like to settle the issue of the Election Commission’s power on issuance of separate notifications for holding by-polls for regular and casual elections to fill vacancies to the Upper House.
Jaishankar’s affidavit also said: “The appellant has and continuously being misusing the process of law by preferring several election petitions and appeals before this court which does not conform to the basic statutory requirements of the enactment.”
He added that there is no law to prohibit notification of vacancy on two different dates in different notifications.
The matter is connected with the 2019 Rajya Sabha by-poll on two seats from Gujarat. The BJP candidates won both seats. The plea raised issues in connection with the powers of the Election Commission to issue separate notifications for holding by-polls for casual and regular vacancies in Rajya Sabha.
On February 4, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed the plea filed by Pandya against Jaishankar’s election to the Rajya Sabha. The High Court had also dismissed two other petitions filed by Congress leaders Chandrikaben Chudasama and Pareshkumar Dhanani, which challenged the election of BJP candidate Jugalji Thakore.
Both Jaishankar and Thakore were elected to Rajya Sabha on July 5 last year in by-polls held on seats vacated by Union Ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani. Jaishankar and Thakore defeated Congress candidates Pandya and Chudasama. Both, Chudasama and Dhanani had moved the top court challenging the High Court order.