Special Correspondent

"Notification only after giving explanation to court"

Commissioner seeks to allay fears of petitionersArrangements discussed with officials of Telangana regionGovernment asked to put transfer of zilla parishad CEOs on hold

HYDERABAD: The State Election Commission (SEC) is convinced that there will be some delay in holding elections to the local bodies in the wake of the interim order of the High Court to take steps to rectify anomalies in electoral rolls.

Commissioner A.V.S. Reddy admitted at a news conference here on Saturday that there would be delay in notifying the polls as he could do that only after explaining to the court the procedure followed in making additions or deletions to the rolls.

Panel's limitations

Mr. Reddy sought to dispel the apprehensions of petitioners in the court case about irregularities in the rolls saying the list prepared for the Assembly polls constituted the mother rolls and the relevant portion of it for each gram panchayat under a segment was considered to identify voters. The Commission had no authority to add or delete names directly. However, the Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (Revenue Divisional Officers) could dispose of pending applications with them until the issue of notification for elections.

The Commissioner, who held a meeting to discuss the arrangements for polls with Collectors, Superintendents of Police and other senior officers of Telangana districts, said he had informed them that corrections to electoral rolls should not be stopped as law permitted them. "Revision of electoral rolls is a continuing process," he said.

Mr. Reddy said it was decided to empower route officers with magisterial powers to check violation of the election code. The route teams were headed by a gazetted officer and would have a sub-inspector and a couple of police constables.

The State Government was told not to transfer Chief Executive Officers of Zilla Parishads, District Panchayat Officers and Mandal Parishad Development Officers until the polls. In the absence of Electronic Voting Machines, an estimated 1.61-lakh ballot boxes were required and they were available, Mr. Reddy said.