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The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response from the Election Commission on a petition that demanded that elections to two Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat be held simultaneously. The seats fell vacant following the union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti, both RS members, winning election to the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and SAmethi respectively.

The petition was filed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Gujarat assembly, Pareshbhai Dhanani after the EC on June 15 fixed July 5 for the separate Rajya Sabha by-elections to the two seats. The Congress said that holding the elections for the two seats separately would be against the rules. The poll body opposed the Congress’s request saying that it can’t approach the top court under Article 32 of the Constitution. In his petition, the Gujarat Congress leader said the election body’s order should be declared as “unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, void ab initio” and it violated Article 14 of the Constitution. The Congress lawmaker alleged the Election Commission has “arbitrarily, malafidely, maliciously and under the diktats of the incumbent government” invoked its residuary powers under Article 324 of the Constitution and arbitrarily issued the June 15 press note.

The top court will hear the case again on June 25.

–India Legal Bureau

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