Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

‘Not conducting civic poll within stipulated period violates Constitution’

Their last showdown was over 2013 panchayat polls. Their last showdown was over 2013 panchayat polls.
Written by Arshad Ali | Posted: June 27, 2014 4:23 am

Under attack from the Bengal government for moving court seeking to know when the elections to municipal bodies will be held, state Election Commissioner Mira Pande tells Arshad Ali that her move is in accordance with the Constitution. Excerpts

Why did you move the Calcutta High Court?

Elections need to be conducted by the end of June and it is already 26th days of the month. Every five years, the municipal elections are held in June.

The term of the 17 local bodies will end between July 14 and July 30 and the elections should be completed before that.

I had proposed July 28 as the date to hold the polls. Since the state government did not come out with any notification, I had to move court. Otherwise, I would have been held responsible.

The state has come out with several reasons why the elections should not take place in June.

These elections are to be held in urban areas unlike the panchayat election that is carried out in rural areas.

The Constitution is good for the State Election Commission as well to hold the election before the term of the incumbent bodies end.

Your term ends on July 21. Given the number of times you were at loggerheads with the state government, do you think the end of you tenure is awaited?

I don’t want to comment on that issue.

Is moving court an unprecedented incident?

No. Last year some municipal elections needed to be conducted and since there was no notification issued by the state government, someone filed a PIL. After the court intervention, the notification was issued.

Is that the reason why you have picked up a fight with the state?

There is no question of any fight. All we are looking for is an election date. If election is not conducted within the stipulated period, the provisions of the constitution will be violated.

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