Election Commissioner Dr S Y Quraishi on Friday defended the Election Commission's decision to countermand the assembly by-poll in the Hazratbal assembly constituency in Srinagar.
"The Election Commission has no powers to overrule the returning officer's decision to accept nomination papers and the decision to countermand the by-election was a legally correct one," Dr Quraishi told reporters in Srinagar.
He said the returning officer, who had wrongly accepted the nomination papers of one particular candidate, has been suspended.
"After the countermanding of the by-election, the poll process has to be started afresh. Notification for Hazratbal assembly by-poll will be issued on Monday and polling in the constituency will be held on May 30," he disclosed.
The Hazratbal seat fell vacant after former chief minister and National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah resigned from the seat after his election to Rajya Sabha in April.
NC later fielded Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, younger brother of Dr Farooq Abdullah, after the EC scheduled the by-election for May 7.
The Opposition People's Democratic Party had filed a complaint to the EC, pointing out the irregularities committed by the returning officer in handling the nomination papers of Dr Kamal.
Dr Quraishi, who arrived in Srinagar today afternoon, met leaders of various political parties and senior state government officers.
He said that political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have 'appreciated the election machinery for the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections in the state.'
He exuded confidence that polling in the next two phases will be held peacefully in the valley, like the first three phases.