[UP Assembly Elections, 2022] PIL before Allahabad High Court seeks postponement of elections till April

  • Salil Tiwari
  • 04:03 PM, 12 Jan 2022

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed before the Allahabad High Court seeking postponement of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Elections, 2022 scheduled to take place in the months of February and March. 

Accusing the Election Commission of India of non-application of mind while announcing the dates of polling, the two petitioners, Atul Kumar and another, have sought Court's direction to the Commission to hold the elections in April/May instead of the present announced dates. 

The petitioners have alleged that they are willing to contest the State Assembly election, however, since the same is taking place amid the peak of the pandemic, they are unable to take part.

Therefore, they have further prayed the Court to quash the election schedule fixed by the Election Commission.

Significantly, the petitioners have 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. 

They have contended that as the term of the existing U. P. Legislative Assembly was up to May 14, 2022, so the election should have been held in April and May in place of February and March.

The petition reads, 

"It is clear that Section 15 of the R.P. Act, 1951 provides for the election on expiration of the duration of the term of the Assembly or when the Assembly has been dissolved. Only in a proviso of Section 15, there is provision of holding election prior to the dissolution of the Assembly."

The plea adds that, "It is therefore necessary to note that a proviso cannot take over substantive provisions 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."

Therefore, stating that the state Assembly has yet not been dissolved and its tenure is up to May 14, 2022, the petitioners have sought Court's intervention.

Furthermore, hinting towards the surge in spread of Covid-19 infections, the petitioners have also asserted that if elections are held, they will become the cause of further spreading of the virus as it happened during the UP-Panchayat Polls and West Bengal Assembly elections 2021.

Importantly, apart from ECI, the state of Uttar Pradesh has also been arrayed as a respondent in the PIL stating that it did not object to the proposal of the Election Commission to hold elections in February/March.

Cause Title: Atul Kumar and Anr. vs Election Commission of Bharat and Ors.