SRINAGAR: Amid indications that Panchayat polls in Jammu & Kashmir would be held in October- November this year, the administration of Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory would soon appoint the State Election Commissioner (SEC), sources disclosed.
Sources told that Jammu & Kashmir’s former Chief Secretary BR Sharma could be appointed as State Election Commissioner. The post of SEC fell vacant on February 01, 2023, when K.K. Sharma completed his term.
BR Sharma, who served as Chief Secretary of J&K from 2015 to 2017, has also expertise in election-related matters as he served as the erstwhile state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) during the 2008 Assembly elections which saw impressive voter turnout.
Under the Constitution of India, the State Election Commission is empowered to conduct polls for all three tiers of the Panchayati Raj system.
As per Jammu & Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, the State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory whenever Jammu & Kashmir is under the President’s Rule under section 73 of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act.
In times of elected government, the SEC is appointed by LG on the recommendation of a committee comprising the chief minister, leader of the Opposition, speaker of a legislative assembly, a senior minister to be nominated by chief minister and minister in charge Panchayats.
There are possibilities that Panchayat polls in Jammu & Kashmir could be held in October- November this year as their five-year term is ending on January 9, 2024.
While the term of Panchayats and block development councils would end on January 09, 2024, the district development councils could also face dissolution with them—(KNO)