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Rejected govt.’s request for putting off gram panchayat elections, SEC tells HC

The State Election Commission (SEC) on Friday told the High Court of Karnataka that it had rejected the State government’s request to postpone the forthcoming elections to 5,800 gram panchayats (GPs) in view of COVID-19.

In a statement submitted before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi, the SEC said that it had told the government that it was necessary to conduct the elections to the gram panchayats as per the constitutional provisions, and postponement of the elections would impact the forthcoming polls to be held to zilla and taluk panchayats early next year.

The SEC, in its letter to the government, has cited the elections being held to the graduates and teachers constituencies of the Legislative Council besides the byelections being held to the two Legislative Assembly constituencies.

Stating that the Assembly elections are being conducted in Bihar by the Election Commission of India by formulating a standard operating procedure (SOP), the SEC has also told the government that a special SOP has been notified for holding elections to the GPs.

Making its stand clear that the SEC will go ahead with its plan of holding the elections to GPs, counsel for the SEC told the Bench that the government again on October 15 wrote to it requesting postponment of the elections, and two political parties, the BJP and the Janata Dal (S), have also written to the commission seeking postponement of elections citing COVID-19.

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