'Monsoon can't be a reason': SC dismisses Goa plea to defer panchayat polls

New Delhi, Jul 6 (IANS): The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to entertain a plea by the Goa government challenging a Bombay High Court judgment, which quashed the state's decision to postpone elections to 186 panchayats, due to the monsoon season.

A vacation bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari said it is not inclined to interfere with the high court order or the process of election.

"In the interest of justice, we deem it appropriate to observe that in case of any difficulty, it would be open for the State Election Commission to approach the high court for necessary directions. Subject to the observations foregoing, these Special Leave Petitions stand dismissed. Pending applications also stand disposed of," it said.

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, representing the state government, contended that while some would say monsoon is not a calamity, but their contention is it can lead to flash floods etc.

"Who will give the machinery for relief work amidst polls?" he asked.

However, the bench was not convinced, telling counsel: "You know that there will not be any calamity at that time?" Later, it dismissed the plea.

In the order, the bench said: "Having heard learned counsel for the petitioner state and having perused the material placed on record, we find no reason to consider interference in the impugned order dated June 28, as passed by the High Court of Bombay at Goa... for the order being precisely in conformity with the requirements of Article 243-E of the Constitution of India and with the decision of this Court in the case of Suresh Mahajan vs. State of M.P."

The bench noted that notification for election has already been issued by the state government on June 30. "That being the position, we find no reason to interfere in the process of elections," it said.

The high court told the state government, in connection with postponement of election, that such defiance to comply with constitutional mandate to hold elections has become a regular feature.

It had observed that it was the fourth instance in the last two decades when the state government and the State Election Commission have failed to comply with the constitutional mandate under Article 243E to hold Panchayat elections.

The Goa government moved the apex court against the high court claiming it was erroneous and as it would have to hold election amidst rough weather -- which includes heavy rains and cyclones. The tenure of 186 village panchayats had ended on June 18, this year.



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Title: 'Monsoon can't be a reason': SC dismisses Goa plea to defer panchayat polls

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