Ahmedabad : Gujarat High court quashed an ordinance on delay of local bodies polls, terming it as ‘unconstitutional’, and directed the State Election Commission to conduct polls before the expiry of their terms. This move by Gujarat HC has been viewed as a major blow to the Gujarat government, which is led by Anandiben Patel, the present Chief Minister of Gujarat, who succeeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Modi was sworn in as Prime Minister post last lok sabha polls.
The court also came down heavily on Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) for using government ordinance to postpone local bodies polls for three months, stating this act was ‘illegal’ and its attitude regarding timely conduct of polls was ‘negative’.
The HC division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjariya said – The ordinance amending section 7(a) of Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, 8(A) of Municipality Act and 257 of Panchayat Act ‘is unconstitutional and void and hence quashed and set aside.
Disturbed by Patel community’s agitation for quota, the Bharatiya Janata Party government had amended three laws by way of ordinance on October 3 which allowed it to advice SEC to delay local bodies poll in case of law and order problem. On the same night, the SEC had issued a notification postponing local bodies polls for three months, citing law and order situation in the wake of Patel quota agitation. The notification stated that elections to six municipal corporations, 56 municipalities, 230 taluka panchayats and 31 district panchayats were expected to be held between October and November this year as the term of these bodies would be expiring in the period. However, the same would now get delayed and a call on it would be taken only after three months.