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UP Assembly election: PIL in Allahabad HC challenges EC announcement of poll dates

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A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court challenging the announcement of election dates for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
Its basis is that Section 15(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides that the Assembly elections will be held on the dissolution of the assembly or the end of the term of the assembly.

It has also been said in the same section that in special circumstances, the Election Commission will have the right to hold elections within six months from the end of the term of the Legislative Assembly.

The petitioners, Atul Kumar and Pankaj Sharma, through advocate Ashok Pandey, raised the question that when the term of the current Legislative Assembly is till May 14, then why the Election Commission has decided to hold elections at a time when the coronavirus is spreading.

The petition said the cases are being heard from the High Court to the Supreme Court through virtual mode. Night curfew is in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Hundreds of employees have died in panchayat elections. So in such a situation, it is unfair and unconstitutional to hold the assembly elections two months before the end of the term.

It has also been said in the petition that the Election Commission has the right to hold elections before the end of the term in special circumstances but it does not have the right to end the current term of the assembly. When the new assembly is to be formed only after the end of the current term, then there is no point in holding elections two months before the end of the term. By making this provision in the law, the Election Commission was empowered that keeping this in mind, it can hold the assembly elections without the dissolution of the assembly or without the expiry of the term of the assembly.

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The Constitution also provides that there should not be a gap of more than six months between the two sessions of the Legislative Assembly and therefore, when the last meeting of the existing Legislative Assembly was held on December 19, the new Legislative Assembly of the state should meet by June 18. The same is the intent of the law and assembly elections can be held till June even when the election notification is issued in May.

As far as the elections to the Legislative Assemblies of other states are concerned, it has been said in the petition that the term of those four assemblies is ending in March, so there is no harm in holding elections there. But it is wrong to hold elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly now and for this reason it should be banned and the Election Commission should be ordered to conduct the elections in April and May.

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