Gujarat HC junks state govt ordinance on postponing local body polls

Ahmedabad

The Gujarat High Court division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria today quashed an ordinance pertaining to delay the local body polls for three months. The High Court called it unconstitutional. The High Court came down heavily on state Election Commission for blindly toeing government’s line to delay local body polls. The High Court observed that there’s no provision of appointing administrators in Panchayats. The court asked the Gujarat State Election Commission(SEC) to start the procedure to hold local body elections. The High Court refused to stay today’s order for appeal in Supreme Court.

The HC verdict came following a petition filed by Vice President of Gandhinagar District Panchayat and a Congress member Virendra Vaghela and a resident of Umrada taluka panchayat of Bhavnagar district Jagdish Bhatt, through their advocate and Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil.

On October 4, the SEC had announced postponement of the polls to various local bodies in the state, citing law and order situation as a reason due to Patel quota agitation.

The SEC had given the accounts of ongoing quota stir by Patel community and counter agitation by other communities for the law and order situation in Gujarat.

Last month, the government had issued an ordinance by which these polls could be delayed in view of the law and order situation.

However, the petition argued that the ordinance is in violation of the constitutional schemes. The plea sought the HC’s direction to the SEC to issue a notification for holding election of panchayats before expiry of the term.

The Commission’s notification stated that elections to six municipal corporations, 56 municipalities, 230 taluka panchayats and 31 district panchayats were expected to be held between October and November this year as the term of these bodies is expiring in the period, but now they will take a call on it after three months.

The high court today gave its verdict on the petition.

Senior advocate Mihiar Thakor appeared on behalf of the SEC.

– DeshGujarat

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