HC allows amendment in PIL that seeks stay on Guj local polls

The high court bench allowed the petitioner to amend its PIL and kept further hearing in the case for coming Thursday.

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Monday admitted a draft amendment to an existing Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which sought a stay on the local body polls in the state, accusing the State Election Commission (SEC) of mismanagement.

The high court bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice V M Pancholi, allowed the petitioner to amend its PIL and kept further hearing in the case for coming Thursday.

The hearing was fixed on Thursday as the SEC sought time to prepare its reply after going through the amended petition.

The PIL, which had been filed on November 18 by Gujarat Nagrik Sangathan, sought a stay on local body polls in the state, alleging that the SEC has failed on the execution front to conduct free and fair polls.

Today, the petitioner amended the PIL by attaching a previous Supreme Court ruling about uploading affidavits online claiming that it has been made compulsory by the apex court through that order.

Though hearing is yet to start on the PIL, polling for six municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar was conducted yesterday. However, voting for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities is scheduled to take place on November 29.

In the PIL, several grounds were presented before the court to validate the demand to stay the polls.

The PIL alleged mismanagement on the part of the SEC as the petitioner claimed that though the elections are approaching, voters were yet to be given voter slips. As a result, the petitioner claimed that voters are clueless about where to go to cast their votes.

As per the PIL, voters are in the dark about the past track record of poll candidates, as their affidavits, containing their income, profession as well as criminal case details (in any), are not uploaded on the SEC website for the general public to view them.

Due to the unavailability of such records online, voters are not being able to take a call about whom to vote, the PIL said.

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