Andhra high court clears elections to local bodies
Elections to 534 Zilla Parishad territorial constituencies (ZPTCs) and 7,621 mandal parishad territorial constituencies (MPTCs) in Andhra Pradesh will be held as scheduled on Thursday.
A division bench of the Andhra Pradesh high court on Wednesday dismissed the interim orders given by the single judge bench of the court on Tuesday stalling the elections to Zilla Parishad and mandal (block) parishads on the ground that the four-week period for the enforcement of model code of conduct was not being followed.
Acting on a review petition filed by State Election Commissioner (SEC) Neelam Sawhney, the division bench heard the arguments of both the sides and gave the green signal to the commission to hold the elections as scheduled on Thursday.
The division bench, however, 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.
Arguing on behalf of the SEC, senior advocate C V Mohan Reddy said the petitioner Varla Ramaiah of Telugu Desam Party had no locus standi to question the SEC’s decision as he was not a contestant in the elections.
He also pointed out 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.
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.