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Ramakanta Biswas

The Orissa High Court on Monday directed the State Election Commission (SEC) of Odisha to furnish an affidavit regarding the reservation of seats for the three-tier Panchayat elections in the State likely to be held early next year. 

The court’s order came in response to a petition filed against the reservation list for the upcoming polls issued by the State government recently. 

The Panchayati Raj secretary has issued notification regarding the reservation for general, SC/ST, OBC and SEBC categories of candidates for the forthcoming polls. 

The petitioner contended that the reservation of candidates should be made in accordance with the ratio of different categories of population living in the State. 
Giving example, the petitioner said SC/ST comprise 40 per cent of the total population in the State. Hence, there is need for reservation of 40 per cent of seats for these categories in the rural polls. 

The petitioner said the notification issued by the State government has not taken into account this aspect and it is an open violation of guidelines laid down for the Panchayat elections in the State. 

The petitioner further argued that the Panchayati Raj secretary does not have the authority to issue the notification regarding the reservation list and the responsibility lies with the State Election Commission.

While asking the SEC to file an affidavit in this regard, the Court has scheduled the next hearing of the matter to December 20.

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