Petition in HC seeks Prez rule in UP for delay in Panchayat polls

Lucknow: A petition has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking President’s Rule in Uttar Pradesh because of the “failure” of the state government in its constitutional duty to hold Panchayat polls by November 6.

Acting on the petition, the Lucknow Bench of the High Court sought response from the Centre, the state government and the State Election Commission by October 15 on the petition, said H S Jain, counsel for the five petitioners.

The petitioners said that the Gram Panchayat elections were required to be held before the expiry of the term of Gram Panchayats on November 6, 2015 but the state government failed to carry out its constitutional duty as it has stayed the polls “in violation of Article 243(E) of the Constitution”.

The petitioners sought a direction to the effect that as the state government has failed to perform its constitutional obligations, the Union of India should invoke President’s Rule in Uttar Pradesh.

The state Election Commission on September 21 announced that the Panchayat polls will be held in two parts. In the first part, polling will be held to elect Zila Panchayats and block development members.

The first part would be held in four phases – October 9, 13, 17 and 29 – and counting would be held on November 1.

In the second part, dates for which have not been announced yet, village heads and panchayat members would be elected.

The petitioners also sought directions for striking down some legal provisions related to panchayat laws, whose constitutional validity has been challenged.

The state counsel, while opposing the PIL, contended that the process of conducting the panchayat poll is continuing and it is fully in accordance with related legal provisions.

Time was sought by the counsel of respondents for filing their responses, which was granted by the court while fixing October 15 as the next date of hearing.