Orders GoN to notify elections to ULBs in State & place official notification before Court by March 14
Dimapur, FEBRUARY 13: After failing to meet the initial deadline of January 2023, Nagaland Government was on Monday ordered by the Supreme Court to notify elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the State and place the official notification before the Court by March 14.
A Bench, comprising Justices SK Kaul, Manoj Misra and Aravind Kumar, was hearing a Civil Appeal filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and activist Rosemary Dzuvichu challenging the Nagaland Assembly’s resolution adopted on September 22, 2021, exempting the operation of Part IXA of the Constitution of India, which mandates 33% reservation for women, in Municipalities and Town Councils of the State.
“You notify the elections. List for directions on March 14, by which date the Commission should place on record the official notification”, the Bench ruled.
On July 29, 2022, the Supreme Court rejected the affidavit filed by the State’s Election Commission “seeking to once again effectively postpone holding of ULB elections” in Nagaland.
“We have clearly put to them that the election process has to be completed and results declared before the end of January 2023. Accordingly, the schedule to be worked out. List for reporting compliance on February 13, 2023”, it had ruled then.
But on Monday, the Court was informed ~ through an affidavit filed by the State Election Commission ~ that in January this year, Nagaland Government had sought an election schedule from the Commission.
The Advocate General for Nagaland, KN Balgopal told the Court that out of the two options provided by the SEC, the State Government has accepted the first one and the State Election Commission can accordingly proceed with notifying the elections.
Meanwhile, LiveLaw updates stated that during the course of hearing, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing on behalf of PUCL, pointed out that Nagaland Government, in its latest affidavit filed in February this year, has resorted to the ground of violence and future violence to justify the delay in conducting the local body elections.
“This statement of violence and future violence has been used three times since 2009”, he told the Court.
It also reported Justice Kaul as telling the Advocate General: “The problem is of faith…Look at the order sheets, it is replete with some excuse or the other.”
The Bench made it clear that it does not appreciate Nagaland Government delaying the election process, especially with reservation of seat for women, on the ground of anticipated violence.
“We have perused the affidavit filed by the State of Nagaland pointing out some resistance to the Legislative Assembly elections…which issue has been sorted out. We, however, do not appreciate the stand sought to be taken in para 5 where a picture is sought to be painted of threat of violence. Local elections with reservations for women cannot be postponed under such threats. The elections have to be held”, the Bench ruled.
(Page News Service)