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Friday, February 3, 2023

Tripura HC directs SEC to hold Village Council election without any further delay

Date:

BY TC News Desk

Agartala: July 19. The High Court of Tripura has directed the State Election Commission to hold the Village Committee elections without further delay in order to maintain the democratic norms.

The High Court was hearing a PIL seeking a direction to the State Election Commission for holding general election for formation of 587 village committees under Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) since the previous term of those elected bodies lapsed on 7th March 2021.

The court order reads that since the VC was lapsed the SEC did not take any initiative for holding election to constitute the Village Committees under TTAADC.

“In absence of elected Village Committees, care taker administrators were appointed for running the administration of the Village Committees w.e.f. 08.03.2021 by a notification dated 04.03.2021 published in the Tripura Gazette in its extraordinary issue dated 05.03.2021. As a consequential fall out of not holding election over such a long period of time important activities like sanitation, conservancy in the ADC villages, construction, maintenance and improvement of village wells and tanks and implementation of various beneficial schemes have come to a standstill causing distress to the people living within the ADC villages including the petitioners. Moreover, the delay in holding timely election to the Village Committees has also frustrated the legislative mandate and offended the democratic norms”, the order reads.

It further said the SEC have appeared and filed an affidavit on June 24 2022.The order said SEC has submitted another affidavit in which SEC has indicated a tentative schedule of dates for holding election to the Village Committees.Tentative Date of Notification 26th October and day of Poll November 28 this year.

“We have heard Mr.S.S.De, learned Advocate General appearing for the state who contends that election to the Village Committees under TTAADC has been delayed for various reasons and the COVID pandemic is one of those reasons. Learned Advocate General has submitted that SEC has come out with a pragmatic time schedule keeping in mind the time that may be taken for preparation of fair and objective electoral rolls. According to learned Advocate General, it would be difficult to conduct the election in the festive season in October 2022. Therefore, SEC has suggested the date of polling at the end of November and hopefully the entire process will be completed by the end of November, 2022. Counsel urges the court to accept the proposal of SEC and issue directions accordingly”, the order reads.

After hearing the court in its order said, “There is no doubt that the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District (Establishment of Village Committee) Act, 1994 under Section 20 has assigned important duties and functions to the Village Committees. Therefore, there is force in the submissions of learned counsel of the petitioners that such functions cannot be entrusted to an administrator for an indefinite period of time. In such a situation, the SEC, as an independent body, will have to weigh the competing demands and expedite the entire process to hold the Village Committee elections without further delay in order to maintain the democratic norms. Though we are not proposing any rigid time lines for this purpose, keeping in view SEC’s affidavits and the materials placed before us, we would expect SEC and state machinery to notify the date of election at the earliest and complete the entire process of Village Committee elections including declaration of results preferably within the first week of November, 2022. In terms of the above, the PIL stands disposed of”.

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