TAKING SERIOUS view of the repeated postponement of elections to the posts of president and vice-president of Ambala Zila Parishad, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear to the Haryana government that if the elections are not held before April 23, the court would be forced to initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against the authorities concerned.
The directions came from the division bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and A B Chaudhari while hearing a petition filed by Ambala Zila Parishad member Makhan Lal who was elected on January 28 and is a contestant for the post of president.
The petitioner alleged, “On the one hand, local leaders of the ruling party (BJP) are busy in horse trading, on the other, official respondents have not fixed any date for holding the elections for the posts of president and vice-president of Zila Parishad.”
Although the officers concerned issued three notices for convening the meeting for electing the president and vice-president of Zila Parishad on February 24, March 6 and March 28, all these meetings were cancelled later, submitted the petitioner’s counsel Naresh Singh Shekhawat. He added that this was done mainly because the ruling party does not enjoy support of the majority of the members of Zila Parishad and most of the members belong to the Opposition party. Therefore, the election meetings have been postponed repeatedly.
The petitioner alleged that on March 28 when the latest election meeting was scheduled at Vikas Sadan, Ambala, “at about 10.50 am, Ritesh Goyal son of Prabhu Dayal who claims himself to be cousin of Aseem Goyal, local MLA of ruling party, came with a large number of persons” and “unauthorisedly entered Vikas Sadan”, and started threatening the Zila Parishad members. The court was informed that Ritesh threatened the petitioner that in case he decides to contest election to the post of president, false cases would be planted on him and his political career would be ruined.
There are total 15 elected members of Zila Parishad, Ambala, who are entitled to cast their votes in the election to the posts of president and vice-president. The court was informed that on March 28, a total of eight elected members of Zila Parishad were present at Vikas Sadan, Ambala, and the quorum was complete. “Still the presiding officer did not come intentionally at the dictates of certain senior leaders of the ruling party in Ambala,” it was alleged.
It was also submitted that the petitioner and other members had appeared before the Deputy Commissioner, Ambala, and requested him to fix the meeting, but so far, no date has been fixed. The court was also told that even an alleged false FIR was registered against the petitioner on March 28 for voluntarily causing hurt, assault, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation at Ambala City police station.