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SC notices on poll law amendment

Source: PTI
April 28, 2004 14:04 IST
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre, the attorney general, and all states and Union Territories on a petition challenging a recent amendment to the election law, which had dispensed with the requirement of domicile for candidates contesting Rajya Sabha elections.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice V N Khare issued the notices on a letter written to the court by journalist and former Rajya Sabha member Kuldeep Nayar, who challenged the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2003.

The court treated Nayar's letter as a public interest litigation and asked the respondents to file their reply by July 12, 2004.

Nayar has challenged the amended Section 3 of the act, which also introduces secret ballot system for the RS elections.

Nayar submitted that the amendment has led to a strange situation where a person from Punjab will be representing a state like Assam about which s/he may not know anything.

The journalist, who recently retired from the Upper House, argued that federalism was a part of the basic structure of the Constitution as laid down by the apex court in the Keshvanand Bharti case and the amendment was contrary to it and therefore liable to be struck down.

He submitted that some 75 members, roughly one-third of total 250 members of the Upper House, were due to retire this year and the issue needed to be decided on a priority basis.

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