The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday a plea of Gujarat Congress leader Pareshbhai Dhanani against the decision of the Election Commission to hold separate by-polls for two vacant Rajya Sabha seats in the state.
The seats fell vacant after BJP leaders Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to Lok Sabha.
A vacation bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant agreed to hear the petition tomorrow after it was mentioned before the court on Tuesday.
The plea, filed by Dhanani through advocate Varun Chopra, has sought a direction to the EC to expeditiously hold simultaneous elections against all vacancies in the Upper House of Parliament in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of People Act (RPA).
"The seats which fell vacant in Rajya Sabha are not 'casual vacancies' under the RPA. There should not be separate elections to fill up the seats. The petition has challenged the June 15 press note issued by the Election Commission," Chopra told reporters here.
The poll body had earlier slated the by-polls for the six vacant Rajya Sabha seats on July 5.
According to the petition, the "lack of appropriate decision" by the EC despite several representations and exhortations by Dhanani demonstrated "a complete absence of justice".
The plea said that in the press release of June 15, the poll panel termed the statutory vacancies in Gujarat as "casual vacancies" which was a "direct violation of the provisions of the RPA".
The vacancies created due to the Lok Sabha polls are statutory vacancies under Section 69 of the RPA and not "casual vacancies", it contended.
"Separate elections for two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat which have fallen statutorily vacant would upset the scheme of proportional representation as mandated under the RPA," the plea said.
It sought the quashing of the June 15 EC press note since it was "arbitrary and violative of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution".
Besides the two seats in Gujarat, elections will be held to fill three vacant seats in Odisha and one in Bihar.
The Bihar seat fell vacant after BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad was elected to Lok Sabha.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)