JAMMU: The Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh High Court on Monday dismissed a petition that challenged the re-election of District Development Council in Hajin-A constituency.
The petition was filed by one Abida Afazal, who challenged the notifications issued by the State Election Commissioner scheduling the re-poll of DDC constituency Hajin-A
The DDC elections took place in Jammu and Kashmir in December 2020. However, the counting of votes was withheld in two seats including Hajin-A, due to the disputed qualification of two candidates. The state election commission declared the polling to these constituencies as void, cancelling the candidature of Soomia Sadaf and Shazia Aslam, citing wrong information about the place of birth by the PoK-origin candidates.
The petitioner contended that orders regarding declaration of earlier poll as void and announcing the re-poll are arbitrary in nature as State Election Commissioner does not have authority to do so and, as such.
Justice Sanjay Dhar held that State Election Commissioner has vast powers under Section 36 of the Panchayati Raj Act read with Rule 108-ZM of the Rules to pass any order for smooth conduct of the election. Therefore, State Election Commissioner was well within its jurisdiction to pass the order declaring the earlier poll as void and to order re-poll.
“The question whether this decision of respondent No.1 (State Election Commissioner) is legally tenable can only be determined by the prescribed Authority at the time of considering the petition challenging the election and this Court, in exercise of its writ jurisdiction, cannot go into the merits of this decision once it has been held that respondent No.1 has jurisdiction to make such a decision.
“Apart from this, by virtue of the impugned notification, respondent No.1 has not stalled the election process, rather it has taken a step towards completion of the election process. Therefore, the bar contained in Article 243-O of the Constitution is attracted to the maintainability of the instant petition,” the court observed and dismissed the petition.