A Bench of Justice D.V.S.S. Somayajulu of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday cleared the decks for municipal elections by dismissing a batch of writ petitions which challenged the State Election Commission’s notification for elections to urban local bodies (ULBs).
The petitioners’ argument was that since the elections could not be conducted as per the original schedule i.e. on March 23, 2020, owing to various reasons, the entire previous election notification had become infructuous by efflux of time. The fresh notification for holding the elections on March 10, 2021 commenced only from the date of withdrawal of nominations, and it was issued nearly after 11 months from the abandoned election programme.
In the meanwhile, several persons might have become eligible to file nominations. When the election is commencing afresh, it should begin with the preparation of voters’ list, filing of nominations, scrutiny etc.
The impugned notification is, therefore, manifestly arbitrary and impermissible in law, the petitioners contended, but in vain as the court maintained that it cannot interfere with the election process at this stage.
It may be noted that the SEC had issued the notification for elections to ULBs on February 15, 2021 to continue the process from the stage of withdrawal in respect of 12 Municipal Corporations and 75 Municipalities/ Nagar Panchayats.