High Court raps Telangana government over civic polls

Source: deccanchronicle.com

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court dismissed as “unreal, unreasonable and vague” the contentions of the state government that it had complied with all legal requirements to complete the pre-poll procedure for the municipal elections.

The court specifically questioned the government on the matter of seeking objections while delimiting wards and rejecting them, and draft publication of rolls of BC, SC, ST and women voters.

A division bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Shameem Akther expressed deep concern and dissatisfaction over the way the principal secretary of the  municipal administration, Mr Aravind Kumar, stated in the counter-affidavit that the pre-poll process was done transparently and asked how he could say so without producing proof.

Justice Chauhan said the government’s counter-affidavit reflected the typical bureaucratic approach to serious issues. “Does the higher officer not know how to file the counter? He has made only vague statements without submitting any evidence, annexures or documents to show how they completed the process,” the Judge said.

Court slams govt for claims sans evidence
Justice Chauhan and Justice Akther were adjudicating on two PILs seeking a direction to stay the pre-poll process which claim that the government had completed in eight days, even though the court had given 109 days.

Justice Chauhan posed a series of questions to Additional Advocate General J. Ramchander Rao about the government’s submissions that the authorities had consulted with the public about delimitation of wards, invited objections and suggestions by publishing it in newspapers. “How can it be treated as gospel truth without the government submitting annexures of newspaper publications, and documents regarding objections.”

Justice Chauhan opined that it was humanly impossible to redress 1,373 objections in a single day.

Justice Chauhan noted that in Karimnagar municipality the government had received 109 objections of which it cleared 59 and rejected 50. In Suryapet, it had rejected all 79 objections, in Nalgonda all 30 and in Armoor all 20 objections had been rejected. The court directed the state to explain by August 20 on what grounds the objections had been rejected.