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S Jaishankar says no illegality in his Rajya Sabha victory from Gujarat

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External affairs minister S Jaishankar has contended before the Supreme Court that there was no illegality and violation of law in his election to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. Notably, S Jaishankar filed an affidavit in the apex court in connection with a plea filed by Congress leader Gaurav Pandya, who lost the election.

Jaishankar was elected from one of the two Rajya Sabha seats vacated by Union Cabinet ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani after they won the Lok Sabha election in 2019. The polls were conducted through separate voting and the BJP won both seats. The victory was challenged by Pandya before the Gujarat High Court, which rejected his plea. Thereafter, Pandya approached the Supreme Court for relief.

S Jaishankar’s reply in SC

In an affidavit filed before the SC, Jaishankar said that the voting process adopted by the Election Commission did not violate any law. He has contended that Pandya’s appeal was based on misrepresentation of facts and not understanding the correct law position.

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Notably, the Supreme Court had earlier sought reply from the Union minister in the plea.

Arguments of Gaurav Pandya

Pandya argues that Congress would have won one of the seats if the polls were held together on the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. In this, the lawmakers list their order of preference for each candidate. The candidate that is the first choice for more voters wins. Each lawmaker’s vote is counted only once.

The BJP had 100 lawmakers and the Congress had 71 in the Gujarat assembly. As the elections were held separately, a candidate needed only 50 per cent of the votes (88) to win. To hold the voting separately was “illegal and in violation of the constitution”, the Congress candidate has argued in his petition.

Pandya had earlier moved the high court challenging the poll victory of S Jaishankar on the ground that the election commission should not have held separate elections for the two seats in contravention of the constitutional norm of ‘proportional representation by a single transferable vote for Rajya Sabha elections’. However, his argument failed to convince the high court.

 

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