Plea in SC against dissolution of Telangana assembly

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear next week a plea filed by a former Congress MLA challenging the dissolution of the Telangana assembly by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and his council of ministers.

The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra who said it would be heard it in the coming week.

Rao had on September 6 dissolved the first assembly. Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had come to power on June 2, 2014 with 119 members. However, the governor later decided that Rao would continue as the caretaker chief minister.

The plea filed by Congress leader Komireddy Ramchandar and his wife Komireddy Saroja Devi said that the decision to dissolve the assembly, that too just before nine months of the completion of its tenure in June, 2019, was a “great punishment to the people of Telangana” as it would lead to “an unnecessary election, at a most inappropriate time at an enormous cost”.

The petition, filed through advocate Rabin Majumder, seeks to declare the dissolution of the state assembly as “void” and “unconstitutional” along with directions to restrain Rao from taking any major policy decision or bringing in any legislation in the form of ordinance.

The petition said that the Election Commission, which had called for elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies to be held jointly, had planned to keep the electoral list updated by January 31 next year, but now with the dissolution of the assembly, the poll panel is being made to finalise the list in a hurry.

“To conduct an election without affording an opportunity to all those who are eligible to be in the voters’ list would amount to denial of their constitutional right of exercising their franchise. Since the EC is required to hurriedly finalise the voting list, denial of voting right to a large number of eligible citizens is a fait accompli,” the petition said.

The petition seeks directions to restrain Rao from notifying elections to the legislative assembly of Telangana.

It also challenges the appointment of Rao as caretaker chief minister by Telangana Governor ESL Narasimhan, saying that a “pro tem” or care-taker chief minister is not accountable to the legislature and thus to the people and therefore to allow a chief minister to be in power for a long time while he is accountable to none is against constitutional ethos of a responsible government and “wholly undemocratic”.

The plea criticised the governor for “mechanically accepting” the decision of the chief minister to dissolve the assembly which has “infringed” the basic structure of the Constitution.

It alleged that Rao is a “slave of superstition, astrology and numerology” and his decision to dissolve the state assembly and the date of dissolution was all “based on superstition”.

“Rao is so superstitious that he thinks that number 6 is good luck to him and, therefore, he convened the Cabinet meeting at 6 am on September 6, 2018; ministers woke up at wee hours to report for the Cabinet meeting at 6 am and the length of the meeting is also determined on numerological and astrological considerations,” said the petition.

 

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