SC clears decks for Panchayat polls in UP

SC on Tues cleared the decks for the Mayawati Government to go ahead with the Panchayati Raj elections in all the 72 districts of UP.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the decks for the Mayawati Government to go ahead with the Panchayati Raj elections in all the 72 districts of the State scheduled in four phases from September 23 to October 30.

The apex court stayed an Allahabad High Court order directing the UP Government to prepare a modified list of reserved seats for Scheduled Tribe Chairpersons (Pradhans) of
the village panchayats and correspondingly reduce the number of seats of Pradhans allocated to notified Scheduled Castes.
A Bench of Justices Altams Kabir and A K Patnaik stayed the order after the UP Government submitted that if the High Court order was to be implemented it would have serious repercussions leading to the postponement of the entire polling process.
Senior counsel Altaf Ahmed and counsel Niranjana Singh appearing for the State submitted that if the High Court order was not stayed it would lead to a great chaos and political uncertainty in the matter of Panchayat Elections which were required to be completed before the expiry of its duration of 5 years in terms of Article 243 E (1)and(3)(a)of Constitution of India.

The counsel submitted that Article 243(E) mandates the State Government to complete an election to constitute a Panchayat before the expiry of its duration of 5 years in accordance with 243 E(1) of the Constitution of India.

But if the High Court order was to be implemented the entire election process has to be stayed and fresh census would have to be undertaken for the purpose, the State said.
The High Court had passed the impugned order on a petition filed by Pradeshiya Jan Jati Vikas Manch Uttar Pradesh seeking proportional representation to the members of
the Scheduled Tribes, who were shifted from the list of Scheduled Castes to Scheduled Tribes, by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Act, 2002.

The State submitted that the entire election is to be conducted on the basis of Census figures published in Official Gazette in last census in year 2001 under Census Act 1948.
"The Census Act being Parliamentary Legislation, the State Government cannot do any thing so as to nullify the effect of Statutory provision contained in Census Act," the
State said in its special leave petition before the apex court.

PTI

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