The final arguments in the matter pertaining to the Punjab government’s failure to hold local body elections in the state will be heard by the Punjab and Haryana high court next week.
The court fixed the date for final arguments for December 3 after amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) Anupam Gupta submitted that there were constitutional provisions for holding panchayat and municipal bodies’ elections every five years and the state government was acting in violation of the provisions.
“There appears to be an attempt by the state government not to hold the elections. It appears that the government as well as the Opposition are wary of the outcome of the election results. And now it is for the court to enforce the constitutional mandate,” Gupta submitted.
The state’s counsel submitted before the court that the government be given more time to take a decision on the issue. Later, the bench headed by justice Surya Kant fixed the date for final arguments for next week, stating that the state could seek more time (to take a decision) but it was up to the court to oblige it or not.
The high court had taken suo motu notice of the state government’s failure to hold elections to 95 municipal bodies despite the completion of their respective tenures.
Earlier, the court had asked the state government to clarify why elections were not being held despite the fact that the tenure of the previous bodies had ended in July last year.
The Punjab government had 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.