FROM A CORRESPONDENT
SHILLONG, April 12: The Meghalaya High Court on April 11 disposed off a PIL filed by one Pawan Sharma on holding Municipal elections in the state.
A division bench of the High Court while disposing off the PIL observed that efforts must be made to carry out all the necessary processes with utmost expedition and in priority.
While giving its judgment, the High Court said that though the time elapsed in this matter appears to be excessive however, it is noticed that at the initial stage, the State Government did make efforts to hold the elections but the actual process did not materialise for the reasons over which, the Government might not be carrying total control.
The High Court stated that in the totality of the circumstances of this case, and particularly looking to the submissions made in the affidavit, the Court was satisfied that the State Government had been carrying out its responsibilities as regards holding of Municipal Elections but the same could only be held in accordance with the constitutiol mandate.
The division bench of the High Court stated that in this regard, the process of proper modification of the provisions of the Act of 1973 (Meghalaya Municipal Act, 1973) appears uvoidable.
It may be mentioned that the petitioner in his PIL submitted that the Municipal Elections were not being held in Meghalaya inspite of the order of a Supreme Court order passed way back on December 10, 1999, directing such elections were required to be held within six months of the order.
The state government in response filed an affidavit stating that after order of the Supreme Court, the Government did make attempts to hold the Municipal Elections and in fact, the date of polling was fixed on November 25, 2000 but only one nomition was filed, that too was subsequently withdrawn; and hence, the elections could not be held.
The affidavit filed by the government also stated that such want of participation in the elections had its basis in the resistance by the traditiol tribal institutions and social organisations; and that in order to bring greater accord in the society.
The Government constituted two Working Group Committees in the years 2006 and 2008.
It has, however, been submitted that in view of the mandate of Article 243-ZC of the Constitution of India, Municipal Elections cannot be held in the tribal areas and efforts are being made to carry out the amendments to the Meghalaya Municipal Act, 1973 after the constitutiol 74th amendment, so as to bring the Act of 1973 in conformity with the constitutiol provisions.
It was also stated that Urban Affairs Department of the Government would take steps for amendment of the Act of 1973 and to notify the areas so that the Municipal Elections could be held as per the law.