Responding to petitions on the inordinate delay in the conduct of urban local body (ULB) polls, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the State Election Commission (SEC) and asked them to furnish a compliance report within four weeks on the matter.
The court passed the order while hearing a batch of writ petitions in this regard.
Elections to the civic bodies in the state have been pending since 2018. By not holding the ULB polls, the State government has committed a constitutional crisis. The government has abysmally failed to meet the Constitutional obligations to hold ULB polls after five years, the petitions moved with the HC had alleged.
It may be recalled here that State’s principal opposition party-BJP- had earlier drawn the attention of Odisha Governor seeking his intervention in the matter. The saffron party had urged Governor Ganeshi Lal to issue directions to the State Election Commission to hold simultaneous elections to the civic bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions in the State.
It may be recalled here that the municipal corporation, urban local body, and NAC polls in the State have been delayed by over two years as the government is yet to amend the existing laws to determine the reservation and delimitation of seats.
The five-year term of 65 ULBs, including Berhampur Municipal Corporation, has expired since September 29, 2018, while the tenure of 48 civic bodies including Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, and Sambalpur municipal corporations expired in February 2019, said official sources.