Odisha High Court stayed SEC order use of party symbols in panchayat polls
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Odisha High Court stayed SEC order use of party symbols in panchayat polls

Bhubaneswar: High Court today stayed the State Election Commission (SEC) order banning support of political parties to the sarpanch, panchayat samiti member and ward member candidates for the ensuing panchayat polls.

The observation by the High Court and the stay order has cleared the air on the controvery. The sarpanch, panchayat samiti member, and ward member candidates can now openly campaign in the name of their respective political parties.

The SEC on January 19 had issued the notification asking the ward members, sarpanches and panchayat samiti members contesting in the elections not to use any political party symbols on the ground that the political parties are debarred from sponsoring these candidates.

However, admitting a writ challenging the notification of the SEC, a single-judge bench of Justice SK Mishra granted an interim stay on the operation of the notification and posted the hearing of the case again on Thursday after issuing notices to the opposite parties.

The petitioner, Haramani Singh, a sarpanch candidate of Mitrapur panchayat in Baleswar district, had moved the High Court challenging the SEC notification on the ground that the notification has been issued without the consent of the political parties.

Contending that such action of the SEC infringes the fundamental rights of the citizens, the petitioner has claimed that this provision was introduced in the State for the first time and this was unprecedented in the country as no State has introduced such a provision to make the lower-rung of panchayat raj institutions free from politicisation.

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