Nainital/Dehradun, Apr 4 (PTI) With the terms of state’s various civic bodies coming to an end on May 3, the Uttarakhand High Court today asked the government to explain why it was yet to fix a poll schedule for them despite the poll panel’s advise to expedite it.
A bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia sought the government’s explanation within a week on a plea by the state Election Commission seeking its intervention for holding the civic body poll at the earliest as the new municipal boards have to be constituted by May 4.
The Commission’s petition also cited Article 243 Y of the Constitution of India, pertaining to the Finance Commission mandate to examine and determine the finances of civic bodies and make requisite recommendations to the governor on allocation of funds and allied matters to them in time.
The bench directed the government to file its reply to the court latest by the next date of hearing on April 11, explaining the reasons behind the delay in preparing the municipal poll schedule.
Alleging that the issue was being treated indifferently by the state government, the Commission said in its petition that it had written to the chief secretary and the urban development secretary but the state government was yet to provide the schedule for the civic body polls.
Earlier in the day, State Election Commissioner Subardhan held a press conference in Dehradun and said the delimitation of municipal wards and their reservation were yet to be done despite the time to hold civic body polls running out.
He said he had sought an appointment with the chief minister to discuss the poll bottlenecks in September 2017 itself but the commission was yet to hear from his office.
He said he had also spoken to the Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik but nothing came out of even that.
After the high court’s intervention, Kaushik who is also the official spokesman of the state government, said efforts are underway to ensure that the civic body polls are held in time.
“The grievances of the residents of areas, newly included under the jurisdiction of civic bodies, are being heard after which the issue of delimitation and reservation of the wards would be taken will be taken up,” he said.
“Nothing is being delayed,” Kaushi said terming the hue and cry over the issue as “unnecessary”.
He said the state government will file its reply to the high court by April 11 besides preparing a poll schedule for the civil body elections and submitting it to the state election commission in a day or two.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.