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HC seeks response of State Election Commissioner over delay in declaring municipal polls

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By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 10 Oct: Hearing was held in Uttarakhand High Court today on a PIL filed on the ‘delay’ in declaring municipal elections in Uttarakhand. The High Court has sought a response from the State Election Commissioner on why the schedule of municipal elections in the state has not been issued as yet.

The PIL filed in the High Court mentions that the term of the municipal bodies in Uttarakhand is ending on 2 December this year. It claims that the State Election Commission ought to have declared and released a schedule for the municipal polls by now, but had not done so.

The PIL was heard by the division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal. While hearing the petition, the Court today issued a notice to the State Election Commission, asking why the election process has not been started yet for the municipal polls. In addition, the Court has also asked the Commission to inform the Court through an affidavit to be submitted within two weeks about the preparations underway for these elections. The next date of hearing has been fixed for 1 November, 2023.

The PIL has been filed by Jaspur resident Anees, who has mentioned that the term of municipal bodies in the state including that of Jaspur is ending on 2 December, but the State Election Commission and the state government have not started any preparations to hold the elections on time. There is no progress regarding even the release of a schedule for the elections.  The petitioner also cited a decision of the Supreme Court in his petition, stating that, while giving its judgement in the case of Kishan Singh Tomar vs Central Government, the SC had categorically stated that the election schedule should be declared six months before the end of the five-year tenure of the municipalities, so that the new boards can be formed within the stipulated time. The petitioner has said that, with less than two months left in the term of the municipal bodies, the State Election Commission has not even announced the schedule for holding elections. In the PIL, the court has been requested to direct the state government and the state election commission to declare the election schedule soon.