Allahabad High Court Refuses To Entertain PIL Seeking Postponement Of UP Assembly Polls 2022 Amid COVID Surge

Sparsh Upadhyay

20 Jan 2022 8:17 AM GMT

  • Allahabad High Court Refuses To Entertain PIL Seeking Postponement Of UP Assembly Polls 2022 Amid COVID Surge

    The Allahabad High Court today refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking postponement of elections for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly (scheduled to be held in Feb-March 2022) in view of the COVID surge.The bench of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Narendra Kumar Johari heard the case and after the arguments, the...

    The Allahabad High Court today refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking postponement of elections for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly (scheduled to be held in Feb-March 2022) in view of the COVID surge.

    The bench of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Narendra Kumar Johari heard the case and after the arguments, the court refused to entertain the PIL and said that reasons for the same shall be recorded later on.

    The background of the PIL

    The PIL had been moved by Atul Kumar and another (who are intending to contest the elections) through Advocate Ashok Pandey submitting that in announcing the date of polling, there had been non-application of mind on the part of the Election Commission.

    The plea submitted that the petitioners are willing to contest the elections of the U.P. State Assembly, however, since the same was taking place amid the COVID pandemic, therefore, they are unable to contest the same.

    The PIL argued that as per the law, the general election of Parliament and Assembly is to be held after the dissolution of the Assembly or Lok Sabha, or when their term is about to expire and this, the PIL argues, means, that the U.P. Assembly elections should be held only after the completion of the term of the existing Assembly.

    "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. Only in the proviso to Section 15, there is the provision of holding elections prior to the dissolution of the Assembly. It is therefore necessary to note that a proviso can not take over substantive provision to which it is a proviso. Ordinarily, the election is to be held when the term of the existing Assembly has come to an end or it has been dissolved. As an exception, it can be held sometimes within the period of six months prior to the term of existing Assembly has come to an end," the PIL states as it emphasizes that the state assembly has yet not been dissolved and its tenure is up to May 14, 2022.

    The PIL had also contended that the term of the existing Assembly of Uttar Pradesh is up to May 2022 and therefore, to initiate the process of the election when the third wave of COVID is in full swing, and to get it completed before more than two months prior to the term of assembly is coming to an end, is the highly unreasonable, unjust and improper decision of the Election Commission and is violative of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of Constitution.

    The PIL also hinted toward the further spread of COVID if elections are held as it happened during the UP-Panchayat Polls and West Bengal Assembly elections 2021.

    The state of U.P. had also been arrayed as a respondent in the PIL, apart from ECI, stating that it did not object to the proposal of the Election Commission to hold elections in Feb-March.

    The PIL also argued that in case the election is not postponed, the persons who are going to attain a majority in January, February, and March will not be able to get their name included in the voter list and cast their votes in the election.

    "It is also illegal for the reason that the in its election schedule, the election commission nowhere says the reason why the election is being held when the term of existing Assembly is yet to expire and it has not been dissolvedthere was no constitutional requirement of completing the U P Legislative Assembly election in first half of March rather it could have deferred for two-three months and this process could have been initiated in April and May and after holding the election, the counting of votes could have been done in May" the PIL states.

    Case title - Atul Kumar and another v. Election Commission of Bharat

    Case citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 17

    Click Here To Read/Download Order


    Next Story