External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court that will be heard if the court decides to take up any petition filed by Congress leaders challenging his election to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in July last year.
A caveat is a notice given by a person, informing the court that another person may file a suit or application against him and that the court must give the caveator (person filing the caveat) a fair hearing before deciding any matter brought before it in the relevant case.
Jaishankar filed the caveat through advocate Swarupama Chaturvedi in the apex court registry saying that he should be heard before the court entertains and passes some directions on the petitions that may be filed against the Gujarat High Court order.
The minister filed the caveat apprehending that Congress leaders, whose pleas were dismissed by the High Court, may approach the top court.
The Gujarat High Court on February 4 this year had dismissed a batch of petitions filed by Congress leaders challenging the election of Jaishankar to the Rajya Sabha.
The High Court's order came on the pleas of Congress leaders Gaurav Pandya, Chandrika Chudasama and Paresh Dhanani challenging the election of Jaishankar and BJP leader Jugalji Thakor to the Upper House of Parliament.
The Congress leaders had challenged the election in the High Court on the ground that the Election Commission's notifications, treating the two vacant seats, to be of different categories and requiring bypolls to be held separately, were "illegal and in violation" of provisions of the Constitution, Representation of People (RP) Act, 1951 and Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
The elections to the two Rajya Sabha seats of Gujarat were held on July 5 last year. The seats fell vacant after BJP leaders Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha.
The Congress leaders had approached the Gujarat High Court to hold and declare the EC's actions to treat the seats having fallen vacant as of different categories which required bye-election to be held separately for both the seats.
Asserting that the poll panel's notification, holding of polls separately, was illegal and seeking quashing of the same, the Congress leaders had sought the High Court's direction to the poll panel to hold elections to the two seats afresh simultaneously through a single ballot and not through two ballots.
They had claimed that the poll panel's notification was unconstitutional and violated the Representation of People Act, 1951. As per the Constitution, election to the vacant seats of the Rajya Sabha should be held together so that the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote can be applied.
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