The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on June 19, a plea of the Gujarat Congress challenging the decision of the Election Commission to hold separate bypolls for two Rajya Sabha seats in the state.
The Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant following the election of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah and party leader Smriti Irani to Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and Amethi, respectively.
A vacation bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant agreed to list the matter on Wednesday after senior advocate Vivek Tankha mentioned it for urgent hearing. The petition filed by the Congress MLA from Amreli and the Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, Pareshbhai Dhanani, has sought a direction to the Election Commission (EC) to hold the bypolls together.
A press note issued by the poll panel on June 15 scheduled the election for both seats on July 5.
The EC clarified that the vacancies for bypolls to all Houses, including Rajya Sabha, are considered “separate vacancies”, and separate notifications are issued, and separate polls are held, though the schedule can be the same.
But, Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda told reporters that the EC’s decision was “unconstitutional” and that the BJP has “pressured” the EC to hold the bypolls separately.
Reacting to Chavda’s accusations, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that bypolls to Rajya Sabha are held separately, which is why the EC decided to issue separate notifications.
Shah has been given the charge of Union Home Ministry and Irani Women and Child Development Ministry.