SEC has filed two sets of writ petitions challenging ‘inaction’ of the State

Present term of CMC ends on September 30 and BMC on October 1

State asked to publish final notification for conducting polls

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Friday issued notices to the State government and municipal authorities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar to file their counters by Monday in response to the petitions filed by the State Election Commissioner. The matter would be taken up for final hearing on Tuesday.

The SEC had filed two sets of writ petitions challenging the inaction of the State government in providing the support and assistance as required under the provisions of Indian Constitution to constitute the succeeding Councils of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).

“Article 243-U of the Constitution provides that the elected bodies should be ready with fresh elections before the expiry of the term of the existing Council”, said one of the petitions pointing out that while the terms of the Councils of the two civic bodies are going to expire soon. While the present five-year term of the CMC is ending on September 30, the BMC Council term is expiring on October 1.

The SEC has further alleged that notwithstanding repeated insistence, the State government had been “deliberately” delaying the process of delimitation of the wards and reservation of seats in the respective civic bodies. Conducting timely elections is mandatory under the provisions of the Constitution and this has been strictly interpreted by a Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court recently in Kisan Singh Tomar Versus Ahmedabad civic body, argued the SED counsel Pitambar Acharya.

Filing the petitions, the SEC has prayed the HC to direct the State government to publish the final notification for conducting the elections in the two civic bodies immediately or in alternative allow the SEC to conduct the elections in the concerned areas on the basis of reservation of seats and the existing electoral rolls following the ratio of Kisan Singh Tomar case.

The HC after taking note of the petitions had asked the State government counsel on Thursday to get ready with the replies by Thursday.

But stating paucity of time, the government sought some more time to file the counters.

Accordingly the bench of Justices I.M. Quddusi B. P. Ray has asked the government to file the counters by Monday and adjourned the case to be heard next on Tuesday.