Nagpur : In an unprecedented incident, the State Election Commission (SEC) has filed a petition in the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court accusing the State government of obstructing the election process. In its petition, the SEC stated that the State government was creating technical obstructions in Zilla Parishad elections despite the entire election program was announced with prior information to the State.
The HC bench, comprising Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar, has issued notices to the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Secretary (Urban Development) and Secretary (Rural Development) and directed them to file their replies by September 9.
The SEC informed the HC that the State government was creating obstruction since last one and half year. As per law, it was mandatory to conduct elections within maximum six months after completion of the tenure of the Zilla Parishad (ZP). But the State government was taking one or the other step to delay the elections, the SEC petition alleged.
Whenever the SEC prepares to announce ZP elections, the government comes up with some Constitutional hindrances to delay the elections. Soon after the re-structuring of constituencies and fixing of reservations, the government decided to upgrade Wanadongri gram panchayat to nagar parishad. The SEC therefore had to cancel the election program.
A few days later, the SEC informed the government that it was preparing to announce the Zilla Parishad elections and therefore the State should avoid any new decision on gram panchayats. However, the State government soon decided to upgrade Butibori gram panchayat to nagar parishad. This once again forced the SEC to cancel the ZP election program.
The SEC stated in its petition that this approach of the government was affecting the functioning of the SEC. The Commission appealed to the HC to prevent the State government from taking any further decisions that may hinder the election process. Advocate Jemini Kasat represented the SEC in the HC.