Monday, 12 March 2012

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Supreme Court: Courts cannot decide poll dates

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Dismissing a petition seeking rescheduling of elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Supreme Court Friday declined to interfere in the conduct of assembly elections in the two states.
Petitioner C.P. Vyas, who is the president of Indian Oceanic Party had sought quashing of the Election Commission's notification of Dec 24, 2011, announcing the election schedule of five state assemblies of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar said it was not for the court to decide on the election schedule. As counsel for the petitioner Vyas pressed his plea, the court retorted saying: "We don't want to be educated on the election laws."

Petitioner Vyas had sought rescheduling on grounds that it clashed with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) exams and Uttar Pradesh School Board exams as well as municipal elections in Uttar Pradesh on Feb 18 besides severe cold in Uttarakhand.

Describing the Election Commission decision to hold elections in the two states as "arbitrary, whimsical and actuated by malafide intentions", the petitioner wondered as to why the poll panel was in hurry to hold election despite the objections.

Uttar Pradesh will have staggered voting in February, while Uttarakhand will hold election Jan 30.

The date for elections to the municipal bodies in Uttar Pradesh to be held Feb 18 was fixed by the apex court, the petition said.

The petition said the teachers, who are normally engaged for conduct of elections, would find it difficult to hold fair examinations in school boards. Electioneering, coupled with consequent heated political atmosphere, would not be conducive for the preparation of students appearing in the board examinations.

On Uttarakhand, the petitioner said that both the Chief Election Officer of the state Radha Raturi and Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri had asked the Election Commission to hold polling in the last week of February as on Jan 30 the cold conditions would be too severe for polling.

They had informed the Election Commission that 35 percent of the 9,744 polling stations in Uttarakhand would be in snow-bound areas.

The petition said the decision of the Election Commission to hold elections in the two states is vitiated by the "hurdles and problems likely to be caused to the people of the said States".

Note: This news is published on IANS (Indo Asian News Service) on 13 Jan 2012.