Panchayat polls: Govt. to file plea in HC today

BANGALORE, MAY 7. An application will be filed by the Government before the High Court on Monday seeking vacation of its interim order staying issue of calendar of events for the zilla and taluk panchayat elections by the State Election Commission (SEC) until further orders and for advancing the hearing of the case by a day to May 8.

The elections to 27 zilla and 175 taluk panchayats are scheduled for June 2 and 6 and the SEC had fixed May 10 for the issue of the notification for these elections. The court stay followed a public interest petition questioning the validity of certain recent amendments effected by the Government in the Panchayat Raj Act, by which the SEC was divested of certain functions which were entrusted to the Deputy Commissioners.

The Government, however, is in a tight spot as it is summer vacation for the High Court, and there is no schedule of sitting of the vacation judge on Monday. Nevertheless, official sources said, the Government had taken action to go ahead with the filing of the application with its two prayers on Monday to give enough time for the SEC to go ahead with the issue of notification as scheduled in case the Government's plea for vacating the stay is accepted by the court.

The court direction not to issue the calendar of events until further orders is given to the SEC. However, it is yet to receive a copy of the interim order. A source in the SEC said it had asked its counsel to get a copy of the order to take such steps as were necessary since what was questioned before the court was the validity of the law and not any act of the SEC.