CEO writes to J&K Govt to amend laws for notifying SEC as election authority for ULB polls

Srinagar: In a significant development, the office of J&K’s chief electoral officer has written to the administration of the Union Territory to notify the state election commissioner (SEC) as election authority for urban local bodies (ULB) polls.

In a detailed letter sent to the Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department, the Joint Chief Electoral Officer has underlined the need for changing the mandate for conduct of municipal elections from Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to State Election Commissioner.

“Further consequent to the appointment of a full-time State Election Commissioner in the UT of J&K, the mandate to conduct the municipal electoral processes needs to be transferred from CEO to SEC. For this, the election authority under the Municipal Acts needs to be changed from Chief Electoral Officer to the State Election Commissioner. The constitutional provisions also mandate this. While doing other amendments in the ULB Acts, this may also be done, so as to make it in consonance with the constitutional provisions,” reads the letter.

The CEO has also pushed for delimitation in Urban Local Bodies, citing variation of electoral population in wards.

Pointing out there is a large difference in the electoral bases of wards, the CEO, in the communique, has mentioned that while the population of some wards is 2000-3000, there are wards with 12000-15000 population.

The letter states that this skewed representation can be addressed by delimitation of wards in Municipal Corporations, Councils and Committees.

The office of CEO has also drawn attention of the government towards the representation received by it for granting reservation to other backward classes (OBCs) in ULBs.

“….. If reservation has to be made in favour of OBCs then corresponding amendments in Municipal Acts and Rules are required,” the letter states.

The CEO’s office has asked the government to take necessary action on these issues before they will proceed with subsequent steps in the electoral process of municipal bodies. (KNO)

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