Hyderabad: Decision on civic polls in 2 days

A single judge court has stayed elections to 77 municipalities and municipalities which needs to be resolved.

Hyderabad: Though a division bench of the High Court has paved the way for the civic elections, the government will have to wait for some more time for some legal cases to be cleared. A single judge court has stayed elections to 77 municipalities and municipalities which needs to be resolved.

Justice Challa Kondadaram on Thursday told counsels for the government and the petitioners that he will take a decision on hearing a batch of petitions on the municipal polls in one or two days.

While dealing with as many as 80 petitions, in which orders were issued staying the elections and publication of the election schedule in 77 urban bodies, on the grounds that the rules of the Municipalities Act were not implemented while completing the pre-poll process. The judge said that he will give a date for hearing the petitions at 2.30 pm on Friday.

He made it clear that these 80 petitions will be decided based on the division bench’s orders and the contentions raised in the petitions.

It is pertinent to mention here that in an earlier round of adjudication of this batch of petitions in July, Justice P. Naveen Rao had stayed holding of elections in 77 urban local bodies until the discrepancies were rectified.

Meanwhile, the division bench headed by Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan dismissed two PILs, contending that the same aspects were raised in the batch of 80 petitions, such as rules were not followed in division of wards, SC,ST, BC and women voters were not identified, etc. However, after dismissal of the PILs, the Chief Justice bench made it clear to the state government that its orders did not relate to the batch of petitions and that the single judge will decide on those petitions.

As per the court arrangements the batch of petitions were listed before Justice Challa Kodandaram
Additional Advocate-General J. Ramachandra Rao made a mention before Justice Kodandaram requesting him to take up the hearing of all the writ petitions and pass orders so as to enable municipal elections to be held
by drawing attention to the division bench's orders.

Further, he stressed the point that the entire batch of writ petitions which are now before the judge are covered by the orders passed by the Chief Justice Bench and expressed urgency in hearing the writs pointing to the time schedule.

Counsels representing the petitioners in the batch of writ petitions vehemently opposed the contention of the AAG and said that the entire batch of writ petitions do not fall under the ambit of the orders of the division bench headed by the Chief Justice.

Counsels further brought to the notice of the court that the state government has not filed counter affidavits nor has it filed petitions to vacate the stay in the batch of writ petitions.

In the absence of both, the court should not go further to decide the petitions without hearing the contention of the petitioners, counsels argued.

Justice Kodandaram agreed with the contentions of the counsels for the petitioners and said that the state ought to have at least filed a common counter affidavit in the batch of writs and made it clear that if he adjudicates the writ petitions, he will hear them individually and pass orders, and hinted that the hearing cannot be done expeditiously as contended by the state.

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