HC quashes amendment to Odisha Zilla Parishad Election Rules

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

The court stated that any change to existing rules during the panchayat poll process is unconstitutional.

“The court acknowledged that at the time of elections all powers are vested with the State Election Commission. It said that amendment of the rule by the state government was illegal and was against the Constitution,” Dr Ashok Mohapatra, counsel for the petitioner.

One BJP Zila Parishad member had challenged the amendment of the state government in the court.

“The bench acknowledging Supreme Court’s directives in the M S Gill case said that after the start of election process Election Commission of India or State Election Commission as the case may be has all the powers, so neither the Assembly nor the Parliament or an executive do not have powers to enact laws at this time,” said Mohapatra.

The state government had made amendment to the rule allowing an authorized agent of each political party to verify the ballot papers of his/her party members before they cast their votes.

A notification issued in this regard by the Panchayati Raj Department on March 8, 2017.