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SC notice to Maharashtra CM on election row

Last Updated: Friday, May 6, 2011 - 22:49

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued
notice to the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on
a petition challenging his May 4 election to the Legislative
Council from the seat vacated by Congress council Member
Sanjay Dutt.

The petition filed by an aggrieved Shiv Sena candidate
Anil Dattatray Parab had alleged that the Election Commission
in collusion with the Congress had allowed the election
despite the fact that Dutt`s election was already under
challenge in the Bombay High Court.

On April 26, the apex court had declined to stay the
May election process but allowed Parab to implead the Chief

Chavan, earlier a Minister of State in Prime
Minister`s Office (PMO) who replaced Ashok Chavan as the Chief
Minister of Maharashtra on November 11 last, was required to
fulfill the Constitutional requirement of getting elected by
May 11, failing which he would have lost his post.

The petition alleged that the Commission went ahead
with the May 4 poll to fill a sole vacancy by seeking
permission of the Bombay High Court despite the fact that a
petition challenging the election of the Congress MLC Sanjay
Dutt was pending before the latter. Dutt has vacated the seat
to facilitate Chavan`s election.

"This purported urgency shown by the Office of the
Election Commissioner, it is most respectfully submitted, is
not only contrary to the stand taken by its counsel in
Election Commission of India vs Telangana Rastra Samithi, but
also reflects the unholy and extra-constitutional nexus
between itself and the ruling party, thereby, casting serious
doubts on its independent status.

"The Hon`ble high court has failed to appreciate this
inconsistency in the stand taken by the Election
Commissioner," the petition stated.

The Commission had to seek permission to hold the
elections as Parab had in January this year challenged the
June 2010 MLC elections in which four MNS MLAs were allowed to
vote despite being under suspension.

Parab, in his special leave petition, submitted that
the high court order had failed to take into consideration a
Supreme Court judgement in the Telangana Rashtriya Samithi
(TRS) case that casual vacancy could not be filled up when
election petitions were pending in the court.

Parab`s Counsel Tapesh K Singh sought a direction to
quash the impugned order and an interim stay of the May 4
polls, but the bench declined to entertain the plea. The court
posted the matter for further hearing to May 6.

Parab said the SLP raised important questions of law
as to whether the Commission`s stand in the pending election
petitions reflected an unholy and extra-constitutional nexus
between itself and the ruling party, thereby, casting serious
doubts on its independent status.

He alleged that the earlier MLC elections left no room
for doubt that this was a classic case of corrupt practice.
There is an open admission that the 13 MNS MLAs had voted for
the ruling party to ensure his defeat and in return the ruling
party agreed to revoke/cancel the suspension of the four
MLAs, he alleged.


First Published: Friday, May 6, 2011 - 22:49
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