Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 26 (ANI): CPI(M) MP in Rajya Sabha, Elamaram Kareem has written to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to withdraw the decision to freeze the biennial election for three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala.
In his letter, E Kareem said, "This is to request for an urgent review and reversal of the decision of the Election Commission to keep the proposed notification and schedule for biennial election for three seats to the Council of States in Kerala on March 24 in abeyance (through the press note). Your press note on this regard mentions a reference received from the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India as the basis for putting the process of the election which was clearly underway."
"But it does not give any correct information on the grounds which the Commission finds so urgent to put the process of election in abeyance after the formal notification. This appears to be completely in contravention of the immense powers of the Election Commission under Article 324 and actually amounts to the relinquishing of its independence.
"There are several Supreme Court rulings that once the electoral process has begun, it should not be interfered with and therefore the Union Government does not have any right to indulge in this process. Therefore, this is an act that undermines the democratic process as well as a blatant violation of the Constitutional provisions and Supreme Court verdicts," read the letter.
"If the ECI feels like it is not appropriate to conduct Rajya Sabha polls since the state Assembly election in Kerala is already announced and its process is underway; I would like to remind the ECI that the biennial election for three seats to the Council of States in Kerala was conducted 'as scheduled' in March 2016 even though the assembly election was notified on March 19, 2016. Therefore, going by the precedent of the Commission's exercise of powers under similar circumstances does not justify the decision in the present instance."
As the Kerala Assembly is not dissolved and it has got its term for few more months, freezing the Rajya Sabha election after announcing the date of notification and initiating the process including nomination is an act that violates the rights of the members of the Kerala Legislative Assembly. As per the provisions of the Constitution, Rajya Sabha is a continuous entity and it is not subject to dissolution.
"Also, the seats in the Upper House should not be left vacant when there is a functioning state Assembly from where the vacancy arise. It is one of the primary duties of the ECI to ensure this. But unfortunately, it seems that, the ECI is deliberately forgetting this Constitutional responsibility and is acting at the behest of the Union Government. The Election Commission, which is supposed to function independently and fairly, should not be subject to any external interference. It will create a situation where people will look at the independent Constitutional institutions with suspicion," said the CPI (M) MP.
"Since assembly elections are already underway including that in Kerala, the Model Code of Conduct is very much under force. Therefore, there is no way that the Union Government can interfere with the Election process and no ground for the ECI to entertain such a reference which is contravening with the rules for holding the elections. In effect this brazenly compromises the independence of the ECI. It is for the Commission's wisdom to explain what such a compromise would imply for the holding of free and fair elections and the credibility, moral and Constitutional authority of the Commission," the letter read.
"Considering all these aspects, to safeguard the Constitutional provisions and to protect the rights of the representatives of the people, I would like to urge the Commission to immediately withdraw the decision of freezing the process of elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala and reissue appropriate notification on this regard."
The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly will be held on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)