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Domicile amendment brought in power brokers: Nariman

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) Senior counsel F S Nariman today told the Supreme Court that the amendment to the election law doing away with the domicile requirement for Rajya Sabha candidates and secret ballot system has "thrown open the flood gates for corruption and power brokers" and was not in the interest of the people.

Starting his arguments on behalf of one of the petitioners, Mr Nariman pleaded before the five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal that "for 55 years, we have accepted the condition of ordinarily resident of the state and all of a sudden we amended section 3 of the Representation of the People Act and removed the pre-condition thereby destroying the basic character of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha)." Other judges on the bench are Mr Justice K G Balakrishnan, Mr Justice S H Kapadia, Mr Justice C K Thakker and Mr Justice P K Balasubramanyan.

A representative of the state must have some connection with it and a rank outsider selected by big money spenders in big cities cannot be allowed to thrust the man of their choice upon the poor people of the state concerned, he added.

The senior counsel further argued that amendment doing away with the condition of 'ordinarily resident' of the state concerned and substituting 'open ballot' in place of 'secret ballot' were destructive of the federal character of the Parliament and amounted to equating the Lok Sabha with the Rajya Sabha.

The provisional Parliament had only one house and two Houses of Parliament were brought into existence by the provisional Parliament which consisted of the members of the Constituent Assembly, he pointed out.

The present amendment has thrown open the flood gates for corruption and power brokers and big money bags have been permitted to dictate terms leading to defections and cross-voting at their behest. It is also surprising that seven states have one individual representative each. If the concept of effective representation of the state has to make way for outsiders, then it would be converted into the lower house and shall no longer remain the Council of States as envisaged by the Fathers of the Constitution, he added.

The arguments will continue tomorrow.

UNI AKS-SC NK KN1823

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