HC yes to SEC order on panchayat polls

Cuttack/Bhubaneswar: The candidates for the panchayat-level posts could not campaign in the names of their respective political parties nor could the leaders directly campaign in favour of any candidate. The High Court while rejecting the application for the annulment of the order of the State Election Commission(SEC) today observed that the order of the SEC neither violated the laws relating to the panchayat polls nor did it amounted to infringement of constitutional rights of the candidates. The court categorically pronounced that the SEC was fully empowered to pass such an order.

The SEC had issued the order on January 19. As per the order the sarpanch, panchayat samiti member and ward member candidates were asked not to used the name of any political party while campaigning and not to use party symbols as well as photographs of leaders. The order also banned sponsorship of candidates by political parties.

The sarpanch candidate of Mitrapur panchayat in Balasore district challenged the SEC order in the High Court. The court had stayed the SEC order on Thursday and reserved its order for Friday. In its final order the court has upheld the directives of the SEC.