New Delhi: The Election Commission on Wednesday decided to keep in abeyance the schedule of elections to fill three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala after the Law Ministry asked the poll body whether members of an outgoing legislative assembly can elect MPs.
"The commission... had announced schedule for biennial election for three seats to Council of States (Rajya Sabha) from Kerala... In the meanwhile, a reference has been received from the Ministry of Law and Justice. Pending examination of the reference, the commission has decided to keep the aforementioned proposed notification and schedule in abeyance till further orders," the commission said in a statement.
Sources aware of the issue said the Law Ministry pointed out that polls to elect a new legislative assembly in Kerala would be held on April 6. Is it legally tenable to hold an exercise where MLAs of an outgoing assembly vote on April 12 to elect Rajya Sabha members, the Law Ministry asked.
Election to three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala falling vacant next month was to be held on April 12.
Abdul Wahab of the IUML, K K Ragesh of the CPI(M) and Vayalar Ravi of the Congress are retiring on April 21. The notification for the biennial elections was to be issued on Wednesday.
Members of legislative assembly elect Rajya Sabha members. The MLAs of the outgoing assembly, in which the ruling LDF has a majority, were to elect the three new members.
Kerala assembly elections will be held on April 6 and counting will take place on May 2.
Rajya Sabha elections are usually held before the expiry of the term of retiring members.