SC allows UP panchayat polls counting to go ahead after State EC holds ground
The Supreme Court today pulled up the UP State Election Commission for counting votes for UP panchayat elections tomorrow before conceding their point to the state body.
“Heavens won’t fall if counting is deferred by three weeks,” said the top court to the state election commission today.
The apex court was attending a petition, filled by teachers’ association, citing the death of 135 teachers during the Panchayat election duties in the state held over four phases.
But the UP Election Commission held its ground: “We have taken a decision to go ahead.”
The State EC said all the Covid protocols would be adhered to in the counting process. Oximeter tests at entrance of counting centres, no crowd inside and outside, Centres sanitised, social distancing and thermal checking etc would be done.
Senior Advocate and Additional Solicitor General, Aishwarya Bhatti who represented the UP state election commission, told the court that there is a cap of 75 persons at each counting centre and there are 829 total counting centres. Victory processions are banned, the Election Commission further added.
Hearing the viewpoint of State EC, the Supreme Court allowed the counting to take place as scheduled tomorrow.
Be as it may, it was the Allahabad High Court which had ordered the Panchayat elections to be held in Uttar Pradesh in the first place after the Yogi Adityanath government had suggested it be postponed.
On February 4, a division bench of justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal of the Allahabad High Court had ordered that the UP panchayat election be concluded by April 30. Not just this order to complete the polls by April, the Allahabad High Court had also dismissed a petition seeking to postpone Panchayat elections in case of rising Covid-19 cases.
This after the State Election Commission had proposed to conclude the polls by May which didn’t find favour with the Allahabad High Court. Accordingly, the UP State Election Commission announced a four-phase election for the panchayats on April 15, 19, 26 and 29 with the results to be declared on May 2.
Following the death of teachers during poll duties, the UP government had clarified that it didn’t want to hold elections but had to do so following the Allahabad high court’s order to concluded it by April 30. A state government spokesperson said that the High Court had left them with no other option.
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