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EC seeks undertaking from Chhattisgarh on school bags

EC will lift ban on procurement of 5 lakh school bags for SC/ST children with Chhattisgarh CM's photo, if state Govt promises not to distribute them before polls.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2003 09:52 IST

The Election Commission has said it is ready to lift the ban on procurement of five lakh school bags meant for SC/ST children with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi's photograph on them if the state Government gives an undertaking that it will not distribute the same before the state assembly elections.

"We do not have any problems in allowing procurement of school bags provided the Chhattisgarh Government undertakes not to distribute the same till completion of the electoral process in the state", Election Commission Counsel Pankaj Rai Chopra told Justice B D Ahmed of the Delhi High Court.

Justice Ahmed had earlier asked the Commission to clarify its stand on its October 24 directive to the state Government to stop distribution as well as procurement of school bags.

The court would hear the matter next week.

Petitioner D M Pocketwalla, who bagged the order for the supply of school bags with Jogi's photograph printed on them, has challenged the Commission's ban on procurement, saying it would jeopardise the whole contract.

"It is understandable that the Commission stopped distribution of school bags to enforce the model code of conduct in view of the forthcoming elections, but it could not have stopped the procurement as the contract was entered into much before the elections were announced", Pocketwalla's counsel Vipin Nair had submitted.

Chopra maintained it was a routine practice to enforce model code of conduct after announcement of polls. PTI STP SDN RP SA

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First Published: Nov 16, 2003 09:52 IST