SC notice to Maharashtra CM on election row
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Last Updated: Friday, May 06, 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 Minister.

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 06, 2011, 22:49

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