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Back to square one: AP HC cancels ZPTC, MPTC polls

Back to square one: AP HC cancels ZPTC, MPTC polls

There seems to be no end to the controversy over the conduct of Zilla Parishad and Mandal Parishad elections in Andhra Pradesh, which had been making news in the state since March 2020 when former controversial state election commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar deferred them on the pretext of Coronavirus spread.

On Friday, the state high court cancelled the elections to the ZPTCs and MPTCs on the ground that the four-week period for the enforcement of model code of conduct was not being followed.

A single judge bench of the high court headed by Justice Satyanarayana Murthy said as per the Supreme Court ruling, there should be at least four weeks gap between the election notification and the polling date.

Therefore, the notification issued by the SEC on April 1 for the conduct of elections on April 8 would be null and void, the court said and ordered that the SEC issue fresh notification for the conduct of the elections all over again.

The Andhra Pradesh government and the SEC are likely to move the division bench of the high court or the Supreme Court challenging the single judge order.

The government is arguing that the elections were already over and only declaration of the results was pending.

In all, there are 660 ZPTCs and 9,984 MPTCs in Andhra Pradesh, of which as many as 126 ZPTCs and 2,363 MPTCs were elected unanimously during the beginning of the election process in March 2020.

Elections to 534 zilla parishad territorial constituencies ZPTCs and 7,621 MPTCs were held on April 7, following an order from the state high court’s division bench.

The division bench, which on April 7, gave the green signal to the SEC to hold the elections, ordered that the counting of votes should not be held on April 10 and results should not be declared. It referred the issue back to the single judge bench to settle the issue.

The SEC argued that the four-week time for implementation of model code of conduct was not made mandatory by the Supreme Court. It only gave a suggestion, while hearing the case in a particular context.

If the code is implemented for four weeks, all the ongoing developmental works would come to a halt, he argued.


Tags: Andhra Pradesh High Court