Supreme Court to hear plea to bar candidates from contesting from more than one seat

 The Supreme Court Wednesday said it would hear after two weeks a plea which has sought to restrict a candidate from contesting from more than one constituency in a general election.

The matter was mentioned for early listing of the plea before a bench of Justices S A Bobde, M M Shantanagoudar and S Abdul Nazeer.

“List after two weeks before appropriate bench,” the bench said.

The Election Commission (EC) in an affidavit filed earlier in the apex court had quoted its 2004 proposals on electoral reforms and said that law should be amended to ensure that a person cannot contest from more than one seat.

It also said that its proposal to bar candidates from contesting from more than one seat was rejected by a parliamentary standing committee way back in 1998, which had taken note of the view of an all-party meeting favouring to retain the provision.

In response to the petition filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, EC said there was no change in its 2004 proposal.

It said: “As regards the proposal of the Election Commission of India that there should be an express provision in law requiring a person who contests and wins election from two seats, resulting in a bye-election from one of the two constituencies, to deposit in the government account an appropriate amount of money being the expenditure for holding bye-election, it is further stated that the amount proposed at that point of time was Rs 5 lakh for state Assembly and Rs 10 lakh for election to the House of People.”

EC submitted that there was no change in its stand on this proposal but the amount proposed in the year 2004 may be enhanced appropriately.

In his plea, Upadhyay has sought directions to the authorities to take appropriate steps to discourage the independent candidates from contesting parliamentary and state Assembly elections as suggested by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC).

He said the question of independent candidates is often connected with the issue of fragmented voting and instability in the electoral system and referred to the Law Commission’s 170th report which said the time is now ripe for debarring independent candidates from contesting Lok Sabha elections.

“Similarly, the NCRWC has recommended discouragement of independent candidates, who are often dummy candidates or defectors from their party or those denied party tickets,” the petition said.

Fresh plea in SC favouring deportation of illegal Rohingyas

A fresh petition has been filed in the Supreme Court favouring the Centre’s stand to identify and deport to Mayanmar around 40,000 illegal Rohingya Muslims staying here.

The plea may be heard along with the PIL filed by two Rohingya Muslim refugees challenging deportation, which is likely to come up for hearing on October 3.

Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, also a BJP leader, said that his plea has been accepted in the apex court registry and would be heard on the date already fixed.

The plea has sought a direction to the Centre and the state governments to identify, detain and deport all illegal migrants and infiltrators, including Bangladesh nationals and Rohingyas.

“The large-scale illegal migrants, particularly from Myanmar and Bangladesh, have not only threatened the demographic structure of bordering districts but have seriously impaired the security and national integration, particularly in the present circumstances,” the plea said.

The plea alleged there was an organised influx of illegal immigrants from Myanmar through agents and touts facilitating illegal immigrants Rohingyas via Benapole-Haridaspur and Hilli (West Bengal), Sonamora (Tripura), Kolkata and Guwahati.

“This situation is seriously harming the national security of the country,” it said.

Meanwhile, Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir who had filed the PIL, claimed they had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

They have recently filed their rejoinder affidavit responding to Centre’s affidavit that some of the refugees have links with Pakistan’s ISI and terror organisation ISIS and they may pose serious threat to national security.

“The government cannot make a blanket claim that all Rohingya refugees have terror links and there being a fear of them being radicalised by terror recruits operating in India.

“This ground is unsustainable against a whole class of largely destitute Rohingyas who have fled their country over the last few years fearing for their lives, as military operations against the Rohingyas in Myanmar have escalated by the day and there has been a mass exodus of about 4,00,000 Rohingyas from Rakhine province in Myanmar which is the epicentre of the ethnic conflict,” the two Rohingyas said.

Opposing the Centre’s reply, they said there was no specific allegations against individual members of Rohingya community in India and it needs to be dealt with on a case to case basis.

Moreover, there was not a single FIR registered against Rohingyas in any matter that would jeopardise national security, they said.

“If there is some credible evidence or information that any members of the Rohingya community/refugees are involved in any activity that would harm national security interests of India, those individuals may either be dealt with in accordance with Indian law or they can be refused refugee status under the exclusion clause of the 1951 Refugee Convention,” the rejoinder affidavit said.

Former RSS ideologue and Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan leader K N Govindacharaya had also moved the Supreme Court seeking to intervene in the pending PIL on Rohingyas.

He has opposed the plea of two Rohingya refugees saying they are a burden on country’s resources and pose a serious threat to national security.