Orders reserved in Municipal elections PIL pleas

Special Officers can be voice of people, says Court

With the arguments on deferment of municipal elections in two Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petitions coming to an end on Tuesday, the Telangana High Court reserved orders on the matter.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy heard elaborate arguments presented by the counsels of the petitioners and the government on the completion of pre-poll processes in a “short period”. Lawyer C. Naresh Reddy, counsel for one of the petitioners, contended that the State government failed to adhere to the mandatory procedure by not identifying ward-wise voters of different social groups like Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

If such ward-wise identification of voters was not done, the reservation of wards for different social groups cannot be undertaken, he said. Additional Advocate General J. Ramchander Rao said the government had not reached the stage of announcing reservation of wards for different social categories.

Ward reservations

“In our counter affidavit, we clearly mentioned this along with reservation of municipal mayor posts were yet to be completed,” Mr. Rao said. But the government had given only one day time to people to raise objections, if any, on the identification of voters of different social groups, Mr. Naresh Reddy argued.

But the CJ had reminded the counsels for the petitioners that under Article 243 of the Constitution even the judiciary cannot interfere with the election process. Lawyer T. Suryakiran Reddy, representing another petitioner, said the government had appointed special officers replacing municipal councils whose term had expired. He argued that special officers cannot be equated with public representatives.

Differing with his contentions, the Bench said that even a special officer can become the voice of people and in a manner even the courts too can be described as representative of people’s voice. The State Election Commission (SEC) counsel Vidya Sagar told the Bench that it would require seven days to publish a revised voters list and over 21 days to conduct the elections.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:28:50 PM |

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