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Won't interfere in Jharkhand RS election: SC

May 02, 2012 20:24 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to interfere with Thursday's biennial election to the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand which was countermanded following allegations of use of money power and horse-trading.

"We can't issue any mandamus to the President," a bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameshwar said while allowing withdrawal of the petition filed by former Jharkhand MP Salkhan Murmu for staying the election process.

Murmu, through his counsel, contended the entire election process was vitiated as the two MLAs involved in the alleged horse-trading will also be voting in tomorrow's election.

It was further contended since CBI was investigating the matter, it would not be proper to permit the election process, much less the tainted MLAs to vote.

"Till now, they (MLAs) have not been disqualified. Why should they not be allowed to vote?" the bench told the counsel.

It asked the petitioner to approach the appropriate forum with his grievances.

When the counsel sought the liberty of the apex court to move the President, the bemused bench said "why do you need our liberty? You don't need it. We are not dismissing your petition. We are allowing you to withdraw the petition."

Accordingly, it allowed Murmu to withdraw the petition.

The earlier notification of March 12 for holding biennial election to fill the two vacancies from Jharkhand was rescinded by President Pratibha Patil on March 31 following a recommendation by the Election Commission in the wake of allegations of use of money power in the March 30 poll.

The term of office of two members of Rajya Sabha elected from Jharkhand was to expire on April 2 due to the retirement of Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia and Mabel Rebello.

The EC has said the election process has to be completed by May 5.

The Election Commission has already written to the government for a CBI probe into the events that had led to countermand of March 30 Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand.

The decision came after the Jharkhand High Court had asked the Commission to constitute a probe.

In a letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, the EC asked for a CBI probe into the RS poll which was countermanded because it was vitiated.

"Having regard to the above facts and circumstances, the Commission desires that the whole matter relating to elections to the Rajya Sabha be entrusted to the CBI for a through investigation and for bringing the culprits to book so that the pristine purity of elections to the Rajya Sabha is maintained and the glory and prestige of the Upper House of Parliament, known as the House of Elders, is not tarnished by the entry of those who have secured election by unfair means of bribery of voters," the EC wrote to government in a letter.

A large amount of cash was seized in Ranchi on the day of the polling, after which the EC had concluded it "is satisfied that the current election process for Rajya Sabha election from Jharkhand has been seriously vitiated and cannot be permitted to proceed."

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