Kerala

SEC may challenge HC verdict

Conduct of local body polls on the basis of 2019 electoral rolls

The State Election Commission (SEC) is likely to challenge the High Court direction to conduct the local body elections on the basis of the electoral rolls prepared for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Sources privy to the poll process told The Hindu that the SEC being a constitutional body similar to the Central Election Commission with absolute authority for preparing electoral rolls and conducting elections, it may challenge the High Court direction to get its powers reaffirmed by the apex court.

But delimitation of wards being an exercise conducted largely on the basis of a political decision, the court could well intervene and initiate measures, sources said.

The State government has chosen to distance itself from the issue and has clarified that it would abide by the SEC’s decision and was not ready to pick up a row. The raging differences of opinion between the government and the SEC had delayed the elections in 2015. The government is committed to conducting the elections in time and was unwilling to stray into the powers of the commission, sources said.

The commission has already prepared the draft poll rolls and was gearing up to publish it within a fortnight. The SEC, with the clearance of the CEC, had conducted a massive exercise in 2015 for preparing a comprehensive voters’ list which could be used for future elections too.

Booth-level offices were fanned out across the State with the CEC’s voters’ list used for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections and after collecting ward specific details, it was also incorporated into this list. The SEC’s plan was to use this list by including fresh applicants, so that it could be completed in a fool proof manner. Moreover, the poll rolls are revised before the conduct of each local body byelection.

Collection of booth-wise data does not help the conduct of local body polls. For each booth comprises more than one ward and hence using the 2019 voters’ list would be a laborious and time consuming process. Synchronising the wards and booths is not a logical proposition too. The commission is likely to flag such issues, if it resolves to move the apex court.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 10:44:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sec-may-challenge-hc-verdict/article30811546.ece

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