Changes to ZP election rules during polls unacceptable: SEC

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Cuttack: The State Election Commission (SEC), while presenting its stand before the Orissa High Court on the case filed challenging the changes made by the State government to the Odisha Zilla Parishad (ZP) Election Rules-1994, strongly objected such a change citing that government interference during the election process is unacceptable.

Once the election begins, even the High Court or the Supreme Court cannot intervene; hence government interference during the process is unconstitutional, informed SEC’s advocate to the HC.

The SEC presented its stand on the issue through its counsel during the hearing of a case filed Sundergarh ZP member, Sukhlal Munda.

“When even the courts are not interfering in the matter, no legislation could be brought to change the poll rules. To bring any changes to the poll rules is grossly unacceptable and undemocratic,” said the advocate representing SEC, Pitambar Acharya.

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The State government brought a change in the Odisha Zilla Parishad Act – 1994 while the panchayat polls were on during the State. Section 51 of the Act was amended to allow agents of every party to be present during the election the chairman and respective ZP members will have to inform their agents about the candidates they have voted to become the chairman.

Challenging the change, Munda had moved the Orissa High Court. The State government will present its stand on the matter before the HC on Mach 22.

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