Why did Supreme Court issue notice over election of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Rajya Sabha?
On November 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of India issued notice on petition against the election of the Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Rajya Sabha.
What is the issue?
The Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justice Ramasubramanian and Justice A S Bopanna issued notice challenging the election of the minister to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. The petition was filed by Congress leader Gaurav Pandya.
Why was the petition against the election of the minister?
The petition raises the issue of power of Election Commission to issue separate notification to hold by-polls for casual and regular vacancies of Rajya Sabha. In 2017, Amit Shah was elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. Later, in 2019, Smriti Irani was elected to Rajya Sabha. When they were elected to Lok Sabha, two seats fell vacant in the upper house. The Election Commission thus held two separate elections and Jaishankar and Thakore were elected.
The petitioner claims that it is illegal for the Election Commission to treat two vacant seats to be of different categories. It also violates Conduct of Election Rule, 1961.
The case was filed filed at Gujarat High Court. The Gujarat HC dismissed the case saying the Election Commission has been conducting separate elections to Rajya Sabha members since 2009.
What are the legal provisions regarding the issue?
According to Section 147 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, the Election Commission should call upon the MLAs of Gujarat Assembly to elect a person in order to fill up the vacancy.
Representation of People Act
According to Representation of People Act, the bye-election is required to be held within six months of occurrence of vacancy. However, this factor need not be considered if the remainder of the term of the member is less than one year.
The time limit is referred in sections 147, 149, 150 and 151 of the act.
Category: Legal & Constitution Current Affairs
Topics: code of conduct • Conduct of Election Rules 1961 • Election Commission • Election Commission of India (ECI) • Lok Sabha • Rajya Sabha • Representation of People Act 1951 • S jaishankar • Supreme court