The Allahabad high court divisional bench consisting of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Narendra Kumar Johari refused to entertain a PIL that seeks to defer the U.P. Assembly Polls due to a sudden rise in the number of Covid-19 cases. The Bench said that it will record its reason later.
The PIL filed by Atul Kumar and Advocate Ashok Pandey wishes to contest election in U.P. Assembly polls. They submitted that the election commission failed to acknowledge the rising cases when it announced the dates for contesting elections. Although the petitioners are willing to contest elections, they fail to do so amid rising cases.
They further argued that section 15 of the Representation Of People Act, 1951 provides for the election on the expiration of the duration of the term of the Assembly or when the Assembly has been dissolved. In the current case, the assembly has not been dissolved and its term will expire on 14th May 2022. Only the proviso to the section provides for holding of elections before the dissolution of the assembly. “It is, therefore, necessary to note that a proviso cannot take over substantive provision to which it is a proviso”.
The PIL added that this decision of the election commission to conduct elections when the cases are rising will act as a hindrance to the participation of voters, as they will come out in fewer numbers. It is also violative of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 which makes it an unreasonable, improper, and unjust decision of the Election Commission. The election commission fails to address the reasons for conducting elections before the expiry of the term. It could easily defer elections to April and May and counting of votes could take place in May.
Case Name: Atul Kumar and another Vs. Election Commission of Bharat