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PIL challenges constitutional mandate of EC’s notification to postpone local body elections

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A PIL in the Gujarat High Court has challenged the notification of the State Election Commission to postpone local body elections in Gujarat on the grounds of COVID-19 as untenable under the constitutional mandate.

Advocate Khemraj Koshti representing the petitioner submitted that the Election Commission of India (ECI) is conducting assembly elections in Bihar and other parts of the country including bypolls in Gujarat.

But the State Election Commission is deferring the same although it is due under the constitutional mandate.

Hence the PIL sought quashing of the notification passed by the election commission in October delaying the elections of local bodies by three months in Gujarat.

The PIL seeks to immediately initiate the due process of election as mandated by the Constitution of India.

What the PIL argues about local body elections

The PIL further states that the notification of EC to delay the local body election is a violation of Article 243 -U of the constitution which provides the time duration of municipalities.

“If the election commission can conduct assembly elections in Bihar which has a higher population than Gujarat then the reason described in the notification to delay the election of local bodies and municipalities in Gujarat is nothing but an eyewash,” the PIL claimed.

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The PIL further said that Bihar has more COVID-19 cases than Gujarat. The delaying of local body elections is nothing but an abuse of power vested with the election commission as a constitutional body, it claimed. There is a constitutional mandate to not delay the local elections unless there is a natural calamity or riot-like situation.

A notification was issued by the Election Commission of Gujarat on October 12 delaying the local election by three months due to COVID-19.

The PIL has challenged the constitutionality of the same.

The election for six Municipal Corporations, 55 Nagarpalikas, 31 Jilla Panchayats and 231 Taluka Panchayats was to be held in November – December this year.

 

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