SC to hear Haryana’s plea on Monday
The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on September 21 the Haryana Government’s plea for vacating the stay on enforcing the new educational norms for candidates contesting the ongoing panchayat elections in the state.
Appearing for the state, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi pleaded that the stay granted by the court yesterday amounted to putting on hold the polling scheduled for October 4, 11 and 18. The nominations would close tomorrow, while scrutiny would take place on Monday, he said.
A Bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, however, clarified that the SC had stayed only the operation of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act 2015 passed by the state Assembly on September 7, not the election itself.
Acknowledging the factual situation, the AG said the SC order had the effect of staying the poll process which had already begun. He implied that once the election process had begun, the judiciary had no power to interfere in the conduct of the democratic exercise.
The Bench had granted the stay on a writ petition filed by three aspiring candidates affected by the new norms. The state government has filed an interlocutory application in the writ petition and sought vacation of the stay order to enable the poll process to go on with stricter norms for the candidates. The AG was pleading for an urgent hearing of the interlocutory application.
The Bench pointed out that it was yet to receive the interlocutory application and as such it could hear the plea only on Monday because of the intervening weekend.
The amended Act prescribes educational qualifications for the contesting candidates. Under the law, the candidates also should not have defaulted on repayment of loans taken from cooperative banks and payment of electricity bills, besides having functional toilets at home.
Before getting the law enacted by the Assembly, the state had promulgated an ordinance for enforcing the norms. The Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the ordinance.