Orissa HC quashes Govt’s amendment to ZP election rules

Bhubaneswar: The Orissa High Court on Thursday quashed the State government’s recent amendment to rule 51 of Odisha Zilla Parishad Election Rules of 1994.

Hearing on the petition filed by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Zilla Parishad member challenging the government’s decision, the HC stated that any change to existing rules during poll process is unconstitutional.

The government’s amendment to the rule would have allowed the authorized agents, appointed by the political parties and election officers, to verify the votes being cast by the elected member of their respective parties.

However, BJP approached the court alleging the amendment as part of the ruling BJD’s vested political interest and apprehension that its elected Zilla Parishad members may refrain from voting the party’s chosen nominees for presidents and vice-presidents of the district councils.

Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said the high court’s verdict showed the state government did not want an impartial Zilla Parishad election.

Congress chief whip Taraprasad Harichandan demanded re-election to the chairperson and vice-chairperson posts in the state.

However, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said it may move the Supreme Court challenging the order after analysing it.

“We will analyse the court order. If needed we may appeal for a review in the High Court or move the apex court,” said BJD MLA Dibya Shankar Mishra.