Shock To SEC, AP HC Stalls Parishad Polls

In a significant move, AP High Court has issued a stay order over the MPTC and ZPTC elections. Responding to a petition filed by the Opposition parties against the SEC’s notification on Parishad polls, AP High Court has issued stay on the election notification. The High Court opined that the SEC’s notification is against the Supreme Court’s previous orders.

Opposition TDP, BJP and Janasena parties have welcomed the High Court’s order. While BJP claimed this as its own victory, TDP said their decision to boycott MPTC and ZPTC parishad polls stood validated with the High Court’s verdict.

While boycotting the polls, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu in his press conference had quoted Supreme Court’s previous verdict that there should be a minimum of 4 weeks of election code to campaign for parties. Naidu had opposed the sudden rush over conducting the Parishad polls in the state without even convening the political parties.

The High Court pointed out that AP SEC had not complied with directives issued by the Supreme Court which stated there should be four-week gap between release of notification and the polls. 

The High Court directed all the activities after the notification to be stopped immediately. It also made remarks that if the SC guidelines are not followed, they cannot be considered free and fair elections.  Meanwhile, the Hight Court has asked SEC Neelam Sahni to submit the affidavit on 15th of April. 

“The honourable Supreme Court directives of implementing model code of conduct, four weeks before the elections are not followed. The new State Election Commissioner (SEC) who took the charge, ignored Supreme court’s orders and issued election notification in a hurry,” said the advocates on behalf of the three political parties including TDP, BJP and Janasena.

However the advocate on behalf of government claimed that nowhere the Supreme Court mentioned four weeks as mandatory but it was just a recommendation. After hearing these arguments, the AP High Court issued an interim order and put the elections on hold.

Earlier the ZPTC and MPTC elections were scheduled on April 8th and the counting would take place on April 10th. Tuesday was the last for poll campaign. YCP has done extensive campaign while TDP and others have boycotted the polls and approached the court.

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