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R P amendment: Centre strongly opposes writ petitions in SC

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) The Centre today strongly opposed the writ petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of amended section 2 of the Representation of the Peoples Act which dispensed with the requirement of a candidate for Rajya Sabha being necessarily be the resident of the respective state.

Arguing before a constitution bench headed by chief justice Y.K. Sabharwal, attorney General Milon K. Banerjee said the impugned amendment did not affect the basic structure of the Constitution and in fact gave wider choice to the MLAs of a state to send a candidate of their own choice from among the prominent persons in various fields of social life.

The AG also pleaded that wisdom of the Parliament should not be subjected to challenge in the court. He also contended that India was not a federation in the true sense and precondition of ordinarily being resident of the concerned state was not the criteria in case of indirect elections.

Solicitor General G.E. vahanwati also opposed the petitions on the ground that impugned amendment has not made section 3 of RP Act nugatory and the amendment excludes NRIs from entering the Council of States as the candidate must be citizen of India.

Most scathing attack on the petitioners came from senior counsel Ram Jethmalani appearing for state of Delhi who called the concept of residence a farce.Referring to articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of India, the former Law Minister contended that Parliament was competent to alter and change even the basic structure of the Constitution and there was no bar to the powers of the Parliament and such amendemnts carried out after detailed discussion and debate was not a matter of judicial interpretation.

Mr. Jethmalani argued that article 2 and 3 took away the most important characteristics of federation and only true Federations of the world are USA and switzerland where sovereign and independent states have come together.

Basic structure must emanate from the Constitution itself and Parliament can even amend the Constituion, Mr. Jethmalani went on.

He also pleaded that India was indestructible unit of destructible units namely states. Its entity can not be destroyed by the Constitution but the units of which (states) are destroyable by Parliament even without an amendment. States are areas of administrative convenience Arguements will continue on Tuesday next.

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.

UNI AKS/XC RP PM1801

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