High Court asks ECI to clarify if bypoll process has been stalled

The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to clarify whether the process of byelections to 15 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka is stalled at present.

Justice B. Veerappa issued the direction after hearing a petition filed by Dinesh Gundu Rao, president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, questioning suspension of the model code of conduct, which was enforced from September 21 while declaring calendar of events for byelections, after the ECI deferred the bypoll date.

It was contended on behalf of Mr. Rao that the ECI had no powers to suspend the model code of conduct as the byelections were only deferred and not cancelled while alleging that suspension of the model code of conduct helped the governing BJP in the State to make appointments to boards and corporations to woo its party leaders and to influence voters.

However, counsel for the ECI, who sought time to get specific instructions from the commission on the status of the byelections, pointed out that the model code of conduct and elections go together and the code of conduct was suspended as the byelections were deferred to December 5 from October 21.

It was pointed out to the court by the ECI counsel that the byelections were necessitated owing disqualification of 15 MLAs and they were deferred because of pedancy of petitions filed by 15 disqualified MLAs before the Supreme Court.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 5:53:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/high-court-asks-eci-to-clarify-if-bypoll-process-has-been-stalled/article29728795.ece

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