The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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RS polls roll with PM catch

New Delhi, June 9: The Supreme Court today vacated its stay on the Rajya Sabha polls but said electing members from states they did not belong to was “dishonesty” and that election of such persons, past and present, would be “subject” to the final verdict.

A few hours later, the Election Commission announced a revised schedule for the polls, which will be held on June 28.

By subjecting the past and present results to the final verdict, the court has brought even a person like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh under its scanner. Singh is from Punjab but has been representing Assam in the “council of states”.

Besides Singh, the elections of several others like law minister H.R. Bhardwaj, former ministers Arun Jaitley, Arun Shourie, Sushma Swaraj and BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu have come under scrutiny.

A vacation bench of Justices K.G. Balakrishnan and P. Venkatarama Reddi lifted the June 4 stay order of another vacation bench following appeals by the Election Commission and the central government. The earlier order had come on a petition that said it was “unconstitutional” to elect representatives from states they did not belong to and sought their disqualification.

Lawyers for the petitioners had emphasised on the constitutional expression “council of states”. They said the practice of electing persons from states they did not belong to violated “federalism”, a basic feature of the Constitution, which could not be altered.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had amended the Representation of People’s Act last year which did away with the domicile clause for candidates.

The bench asked all candidates to state in their nomination forms the state in which they ordinarily reside and the electoral roll in which their name figures.

Justice Balakrishnan observed that “people declaring that they are ‘ordinarily resident’ of a state only to get elected to (the) Rajya Sabha is dishonesty”.

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