VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh High Court has given a green signal for conducting elections to Zilla Parishad and Mandal Parishad territorial constituencies as scheduled on Thursday. However, it has directed that counting of votes should not be taken up until the disposal of the writ petition.
A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and C. Praveen Kumar, set aside the single judge bench interim stay order and directed the registry to list the petition for April 15 as the single judge bench had fixed it for the next hearing.
The court observed that the single judge, while granting the interim order, had virtually allowed the writ petition, though it is still pending disposal and the order was also having a ring of finality as a direction was issued to the SEC for issue of fresh notification for conduct of MPTC and ZPTC polls. The court further observed that while issuing the interim order, the single judge did not consider the aspect related to elections held after the order of the Supreme Court in respect of gram panchayats and municipal corporations and municipalities, as model code of conduct was not imposed for a period of four weeks. The court observed that it was of the considered opinion that there were contentious issues to be adjudicated in the writ petition and considering the matter in its entirety, the interim order was set aside.
The State Election Commission moved a house motion on April 6 with a plea to allow it conduct of elections on April 8 as it was resuming a paused election process and was not conducting polls afresh. Another petition filed by the Telugu Desam and other parties challenged the election notification issued by the SEC on April 1 stating that it violated the Supreme Court direction to maintain a four-week time from the date of issue of notification to conduct of polls for implementation of model code of conduct.
SEC’s counsel C.V. Mohan Reddy submitted to the court that the order of the apex court should be understood as the maximum period for implementation of poll code and said that the SEC did not implement it either for the local body polls or the municipal polls. He said that though the four-week model code of conduct was not implemented for municipal polls, it was not questioned earlier.
Petitioner and Telugu Desam leader Varla Ramaiah’s counsel Vedula Venkata Ramana submitted that the order of the Supreme Court to implement model code of conduct four weeks prior to the date of election, was not followed by the SEC as it imposed poll code only for 10 days with respect to election to MPTCs and ZPTCs....