Chandigarh: The Haryana State Election Commission has put on hold the model code of conduct that came into force with the announcement of panchayat elections on September 8, in the wake Supreme Court hearing the petition pertaining to the validity of education qualifications of those contesting the village polls.
"In view of the orders of the Supreme Court, the State Election Commission is not in position to continue with the process and has accordingly decided to put on hold all the activities in pursuant to Commission's notification dated September 8 and all other notifications/orders issued subsequently," Haryana State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma today said here.
Notably, the State Election Commission had issued the programme for the conduct of general elections of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the state on September 8. According to the programme, the elections of PRIs were to be conducted in three phases -- October 4, 11 and 18.
Haryana government on Tuesday had told the Supreme Court that it would be "inappropriate" at the moment to tweak the minimum educational criteria fixed by a recent amendment in state election law for candidates to contest panchayat polls.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Haryana, had told the bench of Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre to "let the petition be decided at the earliest if the court does not agree with the plea to vacate its interim order."
The court has fixed the petition for final hearing on October 7 and asked the Haryana government to file its response within ten days (from September 22).
Meanwhile, the State Election Commission had said that the nomination papers received with respect to Zila Parishad, first phase elections of Panches, Sarpanches and Members Panchayat Samitis and for the second phase of Panches, Sarpanches and Members Panchayat Samitis would be kept intact in the office of Returning Officer for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samitis concerned.
In the case of Gram Panchayat, nomination papers shall be kept intact in the office of Block Development and Panchayat Officer concerned till further orders.