M A I N   N E W S

268 gram sabha polls rescheduled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Elections to 268 gram sabhas in Punjab, carved after April 11, will now be rescheduled and the entire process will be over by June 21.

Directing this, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today added the results of gram sabhas elections, scheduled to be held on May 26, shall, however, be declared in as per the notified schedule.

The directions were issued on the basis of a statement made by Punjab advocate-general Hardev Singh Mattewal. Appearing before the Division Bench of Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary, Mattewal said he had been instructed by the state election commission to say the newly created, altered, or reconstructed gram sabhas, would go to polls at a later date and the entire process would be over by June 21. He was assisted by state counsel Chetan Mittal.

After taking on record Mattewal’s statement, the Bench added needless to say the fresh programme for holding elections to these gram sabhas shall be notified again. The Bench also appreciated the state election commission’s fair stand in the matter.

In its detailed order on a petition filed by a member of Balwinder Singh Patti Pakiwa gram sabha of Gurdaspur district, the Bench noted the petitioner’s grievance was that the gram sabha had been newly carved on the basis of April 17 notification.

As such, the voters’ list, as well as the area under the gram sabha, had been altered. The petitioners had added they would, therefore, not be in a position elect their own panches.

The Bench observed in some other cases also the petitioners had claimed they would be deprived from electing their own panches.

The petitioner had earlier challenged the order of the state election commission, whereby the election to the gram panchayat of the newly constituted gram sabha, was ordered to be ignored in view of the late issuance of notification by the state government.

He had contended that the state election commission could not sit overt the notification of the state government; and has to permit the newly constituted gram sabha to have its independent gram panchayat.

The contention raised by petitioner, through senior advocate Kanwaljit Singh, was still in the process when Mattewal informed the court that the state government would be reconsidering the elections to the newly constituted gram sabhas, which have been notified up to April 17. For this purpose, a fresh programme of elections to these gram panchayats would be issued.



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