Cong challenges Assembly polls

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 05 April 2002 17:27 IST

The chief election commission has begun preparations for fresh Assembly elections, while the opposition Congress here has approached the court to stall the process of notifying poll process.

The high court here is already seized with four petitions challenging the premature Assembly dissolution on the eve of budget session as well as drawing money from the contingency fund without the budget. The Congress alone has filed three of these petitions.

The fifth petition, to be taken up for hearing on Monday, primarily prays to restrain the CEC from notifying the Assembly elections. The CEC, on the other hand, has indicated that the tenth Assembly has to sit by 17 July, which means the notification has to be issued by May.

Petitioner Shantaram Naik, former PCC president and ex-MP, feels that no elections can be notified when the court is deciding on vital constitutional issues like premature dissolution of the Assembly and utilising contingency fund without presenting the budget, while financial year has already ended.

CEC B B Tandon, during his two-day Goa visit, however clarified that no situation can stall the process of notifying elections, unless the court issues a clear-cut directive to stay it. "Pending hearing of the petition, we can definitely go ahead with the process", he says.

Goa is presently witnessing a fierce constitutional battle since last week with top legal luminaries debating over the action of Governor Mohammed Fazal dissolving the House within 32 months under Article 174 (2) b, as per the advise of the BJP government, which still continues in power.

His another action of issuing ordinance to increase the limit of contingency fund from Rs 10 crore to Rs 690 crore as well as allowing deposits of all the public revenue directly in the contingency fund has also become matter of debate here.

Justifying the action, additional solicitor general of India R N Trivedi, former additional solicitor general Manohar Usgaonkar and state advocate general Atmaram Nadkarni have crossed swords with topmost lawyers like K K Venugopal, T R Andhyarujina, G L Sanghi, Surendra Desai and even Goa's former AG Vijay Nadkarni.


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