Talala bypoll: Gujarat HC pulls up ECI

Talala bypoll: Gujarat HC pulls up ECI

The Gujarat High Court on Monday pulled up Election Commission of India for its "haste" in announcing the bypoll after the disqualification of a Congress MLA within a week of his conviction in a mining case.

The Gujarat High Court on Monday pulled up Election Commission of India for its "haste" in announcing the bypoll after the disqualification of a Congress MLA within a week of his conviction in a mining case.

The division bench of high court asked the commission to file an affidavit explaining the details by Tuesday. 

The division bench led by Justice S R Brahmbhatt was hearing a petition moved by Congress leader Bhaga Barad challenging his disqualification following his conviction for two years and nine months in a mining case. He was convicted on March 1 and was disqualified as an MLA from Talala Assembly seat in Gir-Somnath district on March 5. Barad got a stay on his conviction on March 7. 
 
He has said in the petition, March 1 was Friday and March 3, 4 were public holiday. But the Assembly speaker passed an order on March 5 disqualifying him as an MLA. On March 10, the election commission announced Talala bypoll. The poll for this seat is slated to be held on April 23. 
 
Barad has mentioned in the petition that "order (of disqualification) passed in undue haste, is ex facie without jurisdiction, the same is not only arbitrary biased, illegal but also the same is without authority and power, no procedure is followed, in colourable exercise of power, malafide, passed without application of mind, is politically motivated and the same is unconstitutional."
 
The high court asked the election commission to file an affidavit on its stand on Tuesday without asking for a further adjournment.