In a major embarrassment to the Punjab government,a notification prepared by the Fatehgarh Sahib deputy commissioner (DC) has falsified the states claim regarding delimitation of wards for the upcoming panchayat polls.
In regard to the issue,the government had taken the stand that houses situated in gram sabha areas have no house numbers. An affidavit to this effect was filed by the government last week before the high court,in response to a petition by the state Congress that had opposed the alleged arbitrary and fraudulent delimitation of wards.
However,an affidavit was filed by Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa,annexing the notification of the Fatehgarh Sahib DC,in the high court registry on Monday evening,in which,the DC has mentioned the house numbers in each ward.
The party told the court: It is most unfortunate and reprehensible,if not contumacious,that the state (Punjab) has chosen to lie through its teeth in claiming that houses in the gram sabha area do not have house numbers… It cannot possibly be the case of the state that in entire Punjab,villages only in Fatehgarh Sahib district have house numbers.
It also dubbed the governments justification the government claimed to have relied on common knowledge as lame and laboured excuses. Appearing on behalf of the Congress,senior lawyer Anupam Gupta termed it as perjury done by the government at the highest level.
The Congress affidavit stated: The lame,laboured excuses offered by the state in its affidavit is an attempt to justify the non mentioning of house numbers in the wardbandi notifications,add up to nothing and come to nought in the face of the wardbandi notifications issued by the DC,Fatehgarh Sahib… except for wardbandi notifications issued by the deputy commissioner,Fatehgarh Sahib,the wardbandi notifications for no other district in the state give or mention the house numbers.
Challenging the highly laboured attempt to rebut its allegations,the Congress has also questioned the method adopted by the government to invite objections for the process of delimitation. The state,while responding to Congress accusations,on the last date of hearing,had stated that it had directed its DCs to issue press releases in newspapers to make the people aware of wardbandi.
Apart from a single news item in the local edition of an English daily,the process of delimitation of wards was not covered,reported or commented upon in any English newspaper even though English newspapers are widely circulated in the state,the Congress response stated.
According to rules,seven days prior to completing the process of delimitation,applications have to be invited for submitting objections. In this case,the Congress claimed that the Punjab government had got so called press releases issued,inviting objections,only a day prior to completing the wardbandi.