Relief for Chavan as HC allows EC to conduct council poll

In what would come as a relief to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday permitted the Election Commission to conduct election to the vacant Legislative Council seat he is set to contest.

Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 19:13 PM IST

Mumbai: In what would come as a relief to
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the Bombay High
Court on Wednesday permitted the Election Commission to conduct
election to the vacant Legislative Council seat he is set to
contest.
In accordance with the law, Chavan, who became chief
minister on November 11, 2010, is required to be elected to
either of the two houses of the state legislature within six
months of assuming office.

Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt had last month resigned to
facilitate Chavan`s election.

The EC had approached the high court seeking
permission to notify the election, the process of which has to
be completed by May 10.

In the event of EC`s failure to conduct timely
election, Chavan would have had to get himself nominated to
the House by the governor to enable him to continue in office.

The Commission had to seek permission to hold the
bye-election for the seat as former Shiv Sena MLC Anil Parab
had in January challenged the June 2010 Legislative Council
elections in which four MNS MLAs were allowed to vote despite
being under suspension. Sanjay Dutt was one of the
victorious candidates.
"I allow the Election Commission`s petition," Justice
R P Sondurbaldota ruled, giving the go-ahead to the EC to
conduct the poll.

"Just because there is a petition pending does not
mean statutory proceedings should be held up," Advocate
General Ravi Kadam and advocate Subash Jadhav argued while
appearing for Dutt.

Kadam said even if Parab`s contention that four
suspended legislators were not entitled to vote were to be
accepted, Dutt`s win would not have been affected.

In his petition, Parab had alleged that the four MLAs
were allowed to vote after the ruling coalition agreed to
revoke their suspension on the condition that they would vote
for the party.

The four MNS MLAs - Shishir Shinde, Ramesh Vanjale,
Ram Kadam and Vasant Gite - had been suspended on November 9,
2009 for four years after they assaulted Samajwadi Party MLA
Abu Azmi for refusing to take oath in Marathi as demanded by
the Raj Thackeray-led party.

PTI