Anantnag By-poll: HC Seeks ECI, HM’s Reply in 2 Weeks 

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Election commission of India and India’s Home Ministry calling of their response to a petition for holding by-election for Anantnag parliamentary seat as early as possible.  

A single bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir sought the response within two weeks on a petition filed by Ghulam Mohammad Wani of Pulwama, one of the candidates in fray for the bypoll before it was rescinded by the ECI due to law and order situation in the south Kashmir.  

Seven candidates were in the fray for the bypoll when the ECI in May this year rescinded the by-poll  to fulfill the seat which fell vacant after Mehbooba Mufti resigned from the Parliament to become the Chief Minister of the state last year. 

The main contest was expected between ruling PDP candidate Mufti Tassaduq Hussain and state Congress chief G A Mir and the ECI has to issue a new notification inviting nominations.

Wani, a candidate of All J&K Kissan Mazdoor Party has challenged the inaction on part of the authorities to conduct the parliamentary by-elections. He said that more than a year has passed since the vacancy was created but the election are not been conducted.

“The inaction of the respondents have denied the sizable population of their basic right of participation in democracy and denied the petitioner of his right to contest for house of people. Respondents have failed to follow the procedure laid by the law on the point, relevant section of the representation of peoples Act 1951,” he submits.

Wani submitted that the By-election for the vacancy should been conducted with the period of 6 months from the date of vacancy. “House of people still has two more years as per its term and there has been no consultation with the central Government regarding respondent (ECIs) difficulty in holding by-elections within such constituencies”, he says in the petition.

Union Government, petitioner says, for “ulterior “motives have sabotaged the process of elections as the requisition from the stat government for the purpose of requiring additional forces was not fulfilled and accepted by the central Govt.

The ECI had deferred the by-election which was scheduled on May 25, reasoning that “free and fair poll is not possible due to prevailing ground situation and non-availability of sufficient security forces.”

In its order, the three-member Commission headed by Chief Election Commissioner Dr Nasim Zaidi rescinded the notification for the election after reports from the J&K government and State’s Chief Electoral Officer that “there has been no noticeable improvement in the law and order situation in Anantnag parliamentary constituency.”

In its 10-page order, one of the reasons cited for rescinding, and not deferring the bypoll, the ECI had cited commencement of Amarmath yatra and upcoming tourist season besides the beginning of holy month of Ramzan.  

“The Commission has also considered the option of further deferment of the election as requested by some political parties and the state administration. In the context of requests for deferment, the Commission has taken note of the fact that the Holy month of Ramzan is fast approaching which will be celebrated during the months of May and June. Further, the annual Amarnath Yatra to the Holy Shrine which, quite significantly, falls in the Anantnag District itself is due to take place from the last week of June till the middle of August,” the ECI had said. 

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