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Sc rejects Congress petition

The Supreme Court today rejected a petition by the Congress requesting simultaneous bypolls to two seats in Gujarat that have fallen vacant after BJP’s Amit Shah and Smriti Irani moved to the Lok Sabha.

“It’s better the petitioner go for election petition after the results. Once the notification is issued by the Election Commission, the only remedy is to file an election petition. The court can’t intervene after the EC issues notification for polls,” said a Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai. “What’s the violation of fundamental rights here?” the court told the Congress lawyer Vivek Tanka.

The Election Commission has fixed July 5 for separate Rajya Sabha by-elections to the two seats. The petition was filed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Gujarat assembly, Pareshbhai Dhanani.

“There is no violation of fundamental rights. Also, earlier judgements supported the Election Commission’s decision to hold separate polls. Today is the last date for nominations and the EC can go ahead and hold the polls as per schedule,” said Rakesh Diwedi, the Election Commission’s lawyer.

The Congress said holding the elections for the two seats separately would be against the rules. The BJP has 100 legislators in the Gujarat assembly and the Congress has 71.

Legislators vote in Rajya Sabha elections in what is called proportional representation with the single transferable vote system. Each lawmaker’s vote is counted only once. The lawmakers list their order of preference for each candidate. The candidate that is the first choice for more voters, wins.

Amit Shah’s Rajya Sabha seat was declared vacant on May 28 after he won his first Lok Sabha election from Gandhinagar in Gujarat in the national election. Smriti Irani’s seat was notified as vacant a day later; she defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

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