During the hearing in the Punjab and Haryana high court on the matter pertaining to the Punjab government’s failure to hold the municipal council elections, advocate Anupam Gupta, the amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case, termed it as “absolutely indefensible and outright violation of the Constitution.”
Making his submissions before the court, Gupta said, “The elections cannot be postponed as the MC and panchayat elections are on the same constitutional footing as the parliamentary and assembly elections and there are no provisions for exemption. A mandamus (order) be issued to the state to hold the elections.”
The petition would now come up for hearing on September 30.The high court had taken suo motu notice of the state government’s failure to hold the elections to 95 municipal councils despite the completion of their tenures.
The bench had asked the state government to clarify why elections were not being held despite the fact that the tenure of the previous body had ended in July last year, even when there is a provision to hold local body elections within six months of the end of the tenure.
The Punjab government submitted that a “conscious decision” was taken on May 28, 2013, to hold the elections based on the census figures of 2011, “but the decision could not be implemented due to non-availability of population figures and electronic voting machines, besides the intervening parliamentary elections.”
However, the directorate of census argued that tehsil/town-wise figures of population were released on May 29 last year. KS Bhatnagar, joint director, said there was no laxity on the part of the census department in providing necessary election machinery, census figures or EVMs (electronic voting machines) to Punjab in 2013.