Movement for postponement of state assembly elections got an interesting supporter on Monday when Supreme Court lawyer Ashok Bhan wrote to the Election Commission seeking deferment of the polls. He has stated that politics of election can wait for putting in place the most valuable human right, the right to life.
Political class in Kashmir is divided on the issue of polls. While NC is the sole party that seeks postponement of elections, all other parties are keen that a new government creates a blueprint for rebuilding Kashmir and implement it. BJP at the state is supportive of polls but at the central level it is not against delaying it for a brief spell of governor’s rule.
Congress is also keen for polls along with the PDP. However, Bhan, an old Congress man in Delhi, has opposed the idea and has gone against the party line. Here is the letter than Bhan has written to the EC:
“The term of J&K assembly expires in Jan 2015.The elections are therefore due & the process must start as per the Constitution. A team of EC has visited the State to assess the ground zero situation. It has been widely reported in media that except the BJP & NC all other political parties are keen for holding elections on time.
The whole of the State was recently devastated by floods. Few hundred people lost their lives. The damage to the properties is colossal. Hundreds of houses have fallen down. The normal life came to a stand still for many weeks, The State Govt collapsed for considerable time. The devastation has entered the new phase of mental & economic trauma in the effected people & there is no interest left except to get the life to bare survival & some semblance of normalcy. Above all the onset of winter has further made life difficult for the people. The relief & rehabilitation is not adequate & nor is it reaching the most needy .The large public interest is in peril & serious jeopardy.
In the Constitutional Scheme of J & K State & of India, the public interest is paramount, its respect & safeguard is the bench mark of first duty of any constitutional institution like EC. If the duty is colored by any other consideration more so by politics the faith of the people in the Constitutional democracy & rule of law would suffer immensely.
Being a Constitutional law practitioner in Supreme Court, & involved in the relief & rehabilitation task as a son of the soil, I would urge the EC to consider deferment/postponement of the election till at least May 2015. I am equally conscious that due democratic process is always the rule but in the larger public good an exception is required to be carved out as a rare of rare case, The case of J & K State is squarely a rare of the rare cases. Which is constitutionally & held by Supreme Court as permissible. The collapse of the entire infrastructure of right to life, sufficiently warrants Politics of election can wait for putting in place the most valuable human right i.e.: the RIGHT TO LIFE. Of the millions of suffering people.
Sr.Advocate, Supreme Court of India
83, Lawyers Chamber. Supreme Court Compound