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HC junks PILs, clears decks for municipal elections in T

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The Times Of India
23rd October, 2019 04:44 IST

Hyderabad: The Telangana high court on Tuesday said pre-election process like delimitation of wards, identification of reserved categories and determination of reservations should also be seen as part of an election process which cannot be stalled by courts. It pronounced this while dismissing two public PILs which wanted the court to restrain the authorities from rushing to hold municipal elections.

A bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy pronounced this order after hearing two PILs filed by Anju Kumar Reddy and S Malla Reddy charging the government with rushing to polls without listening to or resolving objections raised by people and their representatives in various municipalities.

This judgement is seen as one that may pave the way for the authorities of the government and the State Election Commission to issue a poll notification soon. But, there is a rider here. Scores of aggrieved people filed several petitions challenging the wards’ division, reservations, etc., and a single judge had earlier stayed the process in most of the cases. The state counsel urged the bench to see that those stay orders do not come in the way now. But, the bench refused to give him any such relief and instead, asked him to make a mention before the relevant single judge.

The bench agreed with the argument of additional advocate general J Ramachandra Rao, who raised a preliminary objection over the maintainability of these pleas in view of the mandate of article 243-ZG of the Constitution. He said that this article prevents people from questioning the validity of any law relating to delimitation of wards of a municipality or allotment of such wards.

The GOs issued by the state in this regard too have the force of this law, the bench said while declining to interfere in the process mentioned there. The bench said that 243 ZG (a) stops courts from interfering in the pre-election work. The bench also rejected the claims made in the PILs about the grievances of the voters regarding preparation of voter lists.

“There is no cogent evidence about this alleged grievance and none of the aggrieved persons is before us,” the bench said. On the issue of identifying SC, ST, BC and woman voters, the bench said that the petitioners have not brought to the notice of the court any instances of any misidentification or non-identification.

As far as voter lists are concerned, upgrading them is a continuous process, the bench said citing the argument of G Vidya Sagar, the senior counsel, who appeared for SEC.

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