Electoral rolls for civic polls in U.T. to be published on June 28

Logo of Election Commission of India in New Delhi. File  

The State Election Commission will come out with the final electoral rolls for the local body elections by June 28 to mark another step towards fulfilling a long-delayed exercise in decentralisation of governance in the Union Territory.

According to State Election Commissioner Roy P. Thomas, the ward-wise draft electoral rolls of municipalities and commune panchayats have been readied and the final electoral rolls will be published on June 28.

The local body polls were held in 2006 in the Union Territory and since then the process has been on the backburner due to differences between the local government and the Centre over ward-wise demographic data on backward classes that hobbled the ward delimitation exercise.

The process of conducting the civic body elections was put back on track by a series of orders of the Supreme Court. In 2018, a full seven years after the the term of office of the elected municipalities, commune panchayats and village panchayats ended in 2011, the top court had directed the Union Territory to hold the panchayat and municipal elections expeditiously.

The Supreme Court, through an order of March 5, 2021, directed the Government of Puducherry and the State Election Commission to complete the delimitation exercise within two months from the date of the order. The elections are to be conducted within four months of completing the delimitation exercise.

In 2019, the appointment of a SEC to oversee the elections was also caught up in controversy after the then Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi refused to authenticate the choice of the the government, led by former Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, and initiated a fresh process that culminated in the appointment of Mr. Thomas.

In March 2020, the Madras High Court quashed a writ challenge by then Local Administration Minister A. Namassivayam challenging the Lieutenant Governor’s decision to reject the nominee of the cabinet for the SEC’s post.

“It is a combination of procedural wrangling and an absence of political will that held up the civic body elections in the Union Territory for such a long period,” an official said.

According to a press statement from Mr. Thomas, the Local Administration Department had completed the exercise of delimitation and issued related notifications on June 4.

The State Election Commission had also issued notifications regarding appointment of District Electoral Officers/Regional Electoral Officers, notification for appointment of Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers.

Puducherry has two municipal councils while Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam enclaves have one municipality each. There are 10 commune panchayats (five each in Puducherry and Karaikal), in addition to 98 village panchayats across the four regions. The SEC has appealed to the electors to approach the officials deputed for the purpose of addition, deletion and shifting and other claims.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 6:33:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/puducherry-assembly/electoral-rolls-for-civic-polls-in-ut-to-be-published-on-june-28/article34918966.ece

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