THE Kerala High Court Wednesday directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to apprise it of the reasons for keeping in abeyance the schedule of elections to fill three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala.
A single-judge bench of Justice PV Asha passed the order after it was brought to her notice the EC apparently took the decision of postponing the polls after it received a reference from the ministry of law and justice.
Justice Asha posted the matter for further hearing on April 9.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the Secretary of Legislative Assembly challenging the decision of the Commission to keep in abeyance the election schedule to fill 3 Rajya Sabha seats alleging that it had been done at the behest of the Union Ministry for Law and Justice.
Communist Party of India (CPI) (Marxist) MLA S Sharma has also challenged the decision of the EC.
Election to three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala falling vacant was to be held on April 12.
Abdul Wahab of the IUML, K K Ragesh of the CPI(M) and Vayalar Ravi of the Congress are retiring on April 21.
During the hearing, standing counsel for the Commission, Deepu Lal Mohan, submitted that the election schedule would be notified before April 21 but he could not inform the court of the time period within which the election process would be completed.
Mohan said the process would be completed as per statutory requirements.
Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan, for the petitioner, argued that the commission must disclose why the initial date for the Rajya Sabha elections was reconsidered in the first place and what reference of the Law Ministry was involved.
Vaidyanathan added that the EC deferred the polls by way of a non-speaking order and there was no transparency in the decision-making process of the Commission.
The MLAs of the outgoing assembly, in which the ruling LDF has a majority, were to elect the three new members. The voting for assembly elections already took place on April 6 and the counting will take place on May 2.