Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh high court has directed the state government and the state election commission to hold consultations between them on the gram panchayat polls and resolve issues amicably.
A division bench of Justice AV Sesha Sai continued hearing a petition on Wednesday, which was filed by panchayat raj principal secretary Gopal Krishna Dwivedi. It challenged the proceedings as issued by the SEC for the gram panchayat polls in February next. The judge quoted government pleader Suman as informing the court that the Centre has issued guidelines for taking up a Covid-19 vaccination programme during the coming weeks. This would with the SEC’s proposed schedule for holding gram panchayat polls in February.
The judge asked the state government to submit its objections within three days from the date of receipt of the order copy to the SEC. He also asked it to depute three officers not below the rank of principal secretary or chief secretary to hold the consultations with the SEC. However, advocate general S. Sriram informed the court that the state election commissioner had already completed the exercise for conduct of gram panchayat polls in February.
The judge said that the SEC had not yet notified the schedule for the polls. Referring to the previous Supreme Court direction that consultations should be held before going ahead with polls, he asked both sides to comply with the direction, hold discussions and resolve the matter.
The AG said the state government wants to submit all relevant information to the SEC to justify its stand on the polls. The judge said the state government could do so. Senior advocate N. Ashwani Kumar representing SEC informed the court that the election commission never closed its doors on consultations and that the SEC had consulted the state government several times on the polls.
AG S. Sriram said if the SEC would hold consultations covering all issues related to the polls in a transparent manner, this was welcome. The judge adjourned the hearing to December 29 and said an order would be issued on that day.