Dated: 3rd April, 2020
ECI DEFERS RAJYA SABHA POLL FURTHER IN VIEW OF COVID-19; FRESH DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED LATER
On 25.02.2020, Election Commission of India announced elections to the Council of States to fill 55 seats of Members from 17 States, retiring in the month of April, which were notified vide No. 318/CS-Multi/2020(1) dated 06.03.2020. After the last date of withdrawal on 18.03.2020, respective Returning Officers declared 37 seats from 10 States filled in uncontested. Now, as per the reports received from the concerned Returning Officers, the biennial elections for 18 seats from the States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Rajasthan were to be conducted on 26.03.2020 (Thursday) and the date before which election was to be completed as earlier announced by the Commission was 30.03.2020 (Monday).
The term of the seats, which are to be filled in pursuance to the above said notification dated 06.03.2020, is completing as per following details:
Andhra Pradesh – 04
Jharkhand – 02
Madhya Pradesh – 03
Manipur – 01
Rajasthan – 03
Gujarat – 04
Meghalaya - 01
Total - 18;
Election Commission of India vide notification dated 24.03.2020, in view of unforeseen public health emergency emerging from COVID-19, invoking section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 extended the period of completion of election including postponing the date of poll and counting concerning elections to the Council of States to fill the seats of Members retiring in the month of April, which were notified vide No. 318/CS-Multi/2020(1) dated 06.03.2020;
On 24.03.2020, the National Disaster Management Authority issued order to take measures for ensuring social distancing so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Subsequent to this, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India vide its Order dated 24.03.2020 under section 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 has issued detailed guidelines including restrictions on movement and gathering for the maintenance of public safety and avoiding health hazard to take effective measures so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The Ministry has further issued orders dated 25.03.2020, 27.03.2020 and 29.03.2020 for continuing with these measures. The Ministry has also written to all the Chief Secretaries in the country for strict compliance of all the lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country. These measures are enforced throughout the country for a period of three weeks from 25.03.2020.
The electoral process necessarily involves movement and gathering of polling officials, agents of political parties, support officials and members of respective Legislative Assemblies on the poll day, which may put public safety at risk and create public health hazard;
Commission has reviewed the current unforeseen situation of public health emergency and the feasibility of completing the poll process for the aforesaid election. Commission, after taking all facts and circumstances in view, is of considered view that continuing electoral process in the current environment may not be feasible in view of the restrictions for the maintenance of public safety and avoiding health hazard, and therefore, aforesaid election can not be completed within its scheduled term, as mentioned in para 2 above.
In view of the above, Commission invoking its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution of India read with section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 has further extended the period of election beyond the prescribed term(s) of above mentioned seats. The list of contesting candidates, already published for the said elections by the respective Returning Officers shall remain valid for the purposes of remaining activities, as prescribed under the said notifications. Fresh date of poll and counting for the said biennial elections shall be intimated in due course after reviewing the prevailing situation.