Congress terms govt’s action as ‘fraud’

The Congress on Friday termed the Punjab government’s decision on delimitation of wards as a “fraud committed upon the court” and a “mischief” even as the state justified its move claiming that “the houses situated in the Gram Sabha area have no house numbers”.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: April 15, 2014 6:03:09 pm

The Congress on Friday termed the Punjab government’s decision on delimitation of wards as a “fraud committed upon the court” and a “mischief” even as the state justified its move claiming that “the houses situated in the Gram Sabha area have no house numbers”.

As Punjab justified its decision in reply filed in response to a PIL in Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the delimitation of wards for the upcoming Panchayat elections by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC),the party’s counsel and senior lawyer,Anupam,Gupta argued that government’s reply is “perjury done by the state at the highest level”.

Gupta said he will produce electoral rolls,prepared by the State Election Commission,which mention house numbers of people residing in villages.

Claiming that “it was a classical case of gerrymandering on a huge scale”,Gupta said PPCC has “conclusive” evidence to demonstrate the “mischief” committed by the state agencies.

However,a division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh asked PPCC to explain its locus standi and questioned whether “PPCC is a registered body”.

It also questioned that if it is established that PPCC is not a registered body,whether “a resolution passed by five people” to file a petition in the court be “maintainable”.

The Congress sought two days time to respond to the query. The case will come up for resumed hearing on May 1.

In its petition,the PPCC has also challenged the vires of the rules under which the Punjab government ousted the State Election Commission from the process of formulation of wards. The powers were vested with the Deputy Commissioners.

In its reply,filed by Dr S Karuna Raju,Director,Rural Development and Panchayats,the state submitted that the PIL filed by PPCC is “not maintainable” and is “totally vague”.

It says that “the houses situated in the Gram Sabha have not been given or allotted any particular number as in the case of houses falling in the urban areas,it was not possible for the Deputy Commissioner to take into account any house number while formation of wards”.

It was submitted that 6,231 objections (to the formulation of wards) throughout Punjab were received out of which 2,922 objections were corrected and 3,309 were dismissed.

This “belies the contentions” of the Congress party,Punjab claimed and submitted that the petition by Congress is “against public interest as it seeks to impede the electoral process to this most vibrant grass root institution of self governance”.

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