In the matter of Manju Singh Vs Union of India Leaders of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, Manju Singh and Harsh Dev Singh, have petitioned the Supreme Court to order the Election Commission of India to hold the parliamentary elections for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible. In the argument, it was made that the right of the people of UT Jammu and Kashmir, including the petitioner, to be represented by elected officials had been violated, in contravention of the fundamental principles of democracy upheld by the Supreme Court in Keshavananda Bharti v. Union of India & Ors.
The petition also claimed that the Election Commission’s refusal and delay in holding elections were intentional and purposeful actions taken solely to allow the BJP, the dominant party at the federal level, to maintain its proxy rule in the former State. The election commission is assisting the central government’s ruling party by allowing it as much time as possible to win back support in Jammu and Kashmir after its unilateral moves to dismantle the former state and downgrade it to the status of a union territory.
As per the plea, After Mehbooba Mufti, the former chief minister, submitted her resignation, the State Assembly was suspended in June 2018 and dissolved in November 2018. The full commission, led by the Chief Election Commission, visited the State of Jammu and Kashmir in March 2019 to assess the situation in anticipation of holding elections for the legislative assembly. During this visit, the commission met with a variety of stakeholders, particularly political parties, to hear their perspectives. With the exception of the BJP, all political parties with members in Jammu and Kashmir supported the immediate restoration of the democratically elected government in the region so that its citizens could participate in legislative decision-making and the management of the state’s affairs through their elected representatives. The petition emphasised that the Election Commission of India postponed the elections to the state legislature in accordance with the chosen stance of the ruling party in the centre, despite the recognised political parties uniformly supporting and demanding early elections to the State parliament.
The Election Commission’s failure to hold State Assembly elections while parliamentary elections were being held in the State Assembly was fraught with arbitrary behaviour, a flagrant violation of its constitutional obligations, and it allowed the party in power at the Centre to continue to rule the State by proxy. So the argument went, immediate action should be made to hold elections for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir’s Legislative Assembly.
Contention from parties
The petitioners said that by postponing elections, the people of Jammu and Kashmir were deprived of their right to elect representatives, which is regarded as being an essential component of the Constitution.
The petitioner who seeks a prayer will issue the proper writ direction or order ordering the respondent to take all required actions to start and finish the Legislative Assembly elections as soon as possible.