Thursday, August 18, 2022

SC directs Nagaland to complete local body elections by Jan 2023

Supreme Court on Friday directed the Nagaland Government and State Election Commission to complete the elections of local bodies and declare the results by the end of January, next year.
A bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh was hearing a plea filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) concerning local body elections in the state.
The court further directed that a report in this regard be filed by the second week of February 2023.
When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, the counsels for the State government and the SEC informed the court that they have filed an affidavit. It was submitted that the SEC required the permission of the State to conduct the election. Court, however, made it clear that they had kept the case for hearing July 29 only for the purpose of being apprised of the dates of the election.
When Advocate General K.N. Balgopal sought more time to complete and declare the results of elections, stating that during December and January, the attendance of officers would be very marginal because of cold weather conditions, the Court said that 12 years have passed and that the elections need to be conducted now.
The counsel told the bench that the state government (SEC) had filed two affidavits in the matter.
The bench, however, clarified that they were not accepting the SEC’s affidavit. The Court then listed the matter for the second week of February, 2023, to hear the compliance of the verdict.
In the last hearing, the top court asked State Election Commission to file an affidavit mentioning the date when they will notify the elections.
The top court had noted that the final publication of electoral rolls will be on November 24, 2022 and therefore called upon the State Election Commission to strictly follow the schedule without any extension being sought for the said purpose.
Earlier, the Supreme Court pulled up the Nagaland government over not responding to the request of the Election Commission in the state’s urban local bodies and said that an important aspect of gender equality seems to be getting postponed.
The bench had noted that the State government was not responding to the request of the Election Commission.
The Court had said after perusal of the note filed by the respondent, the Nagaland State Election Commission, noted that “the report is once again a reflection on the lackadaisical attitude of the State Government even in furtherance of assurances given to this Court apart from the fact of the legal mandate which they are required to follow.
Nagaland State Govt had earlier assured that they will amend the mandate of the Act and a report of the Committee is expected in about a month’s time.

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