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HC asks Arunachal Govt to hold Panchayat polls by December

By Correspondent

ITANAGAR, July 20 - Gauhati High Court, in a landmark judgment, has on Thursday directed Government of Arunachal Pradesh to conduct the pending Panchayat elections by December 2018.

The term of the then three-tier Panchayat Raj Institutions had expired on May 31 last. A change in structure from the three-tier Panchayati Raj system to a two-tier one has apparently delayed the Panchayat election in the State.

The HC, in its verdict said: �A writ of mandamus is hereby issued to avert a constitutional crisis in the State, directing Government of Arunachal Pradesh to suitably revise its action plan, so as to complete the exercise by November 30, 2018 and thereafter, the State Election Commission shall start its exercise for holding the general election to the Panchayats.

Writ of mandamus is further issued directing the Government of Arunachal Pradesh and its functionaries to render all cooperation and assistance to the State Election Commission in discharging its constitutional obligation of holding a smooth and fair election.�

�It is further directed that the entire process shall not continue beyond December 31, 2018, keeping in mind that the mandate of Article 243E (3) of the Constitution of India cannot be diluted by introducing any amendment to the statutory law of the subject,� read the HC judgment, a copy of which was made available to the press.

The High Court�s directions came in the wake of a writ petition (WP/C/231/AP/2018) filed by All Arunachal Pradesh Panchayat Parishad secretary general and former Kurung Kumey ZPC Sangha Tagik in Itanagar Permanent Bench, calling for its intervention into the delay in conduct of Panchayat polls by the State Govt.

It is worth mentioning here that the State Assembly had in March last passed �The Arunachal Pradesh Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2018� to have a two-tier Panchayati Raj system, thereby removing the Anchal Samitis at the intermediate level, in consonance with Article 243(B) of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992.

�Since the State could not hold the Panchayati Raj election in time due to certain constitutional issues, there will be no institution of PRI in the State with effect from June 1 till reconstitution of the PRI after the next election,� Secretary Panchayati Raj, Govt of Arunachal Pradesh, had said in a �circular� in May last.

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