Rashid Paul

HC issues notice to J&K CEO for rejecting candidate’s nomination

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Srinagar, Nov 22: The High Court on Thursday issued a notice against the J&K’s Chief Election Officer for rejecting the nomination papers of a candidate for Panchayat election in the border area of Kupwara district.

The CEO had rejected the nomination papers of one Abdul Ahad Bhat for the Panchayat halqa Wadipora (A) Block Handwara on the grounds that the candidate was a government employee.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar directed the notice against the officer returnable within four weeks and stayed the order that rejected the nomination papers of Bhat.

“Subject to objections and till next date before the bench, the order impugned No.CEO/PYT/707 dated 15.11.2018 shall stay and the nomination papers submitted by the petitioner shall be accepted,” directed the court.

The result of the election for which the petitioner is a candidate, however, shall remain subject to further orders from this court, it said.

The grievance projected by the petitioner is that the CEO vide election notification on 29th October, 2018 appointed different officers for holding the Phase-III elections for different Panchayat halqas of Kupwara including block Handwara.

The petitioner submitted his nomination papers for Panchayat halqa Wadipora (A) was accepted by the concerned Returning Officer.

After his nomination papers were accepted, an unknown complaint was lodged with the Returning Officer against the petitioner and the officer took up the matter with CEO.

A report was called from the district Panchayat Election Officer, Kupwara and on the basis of his report, an order No.CEO/Augst/707 dated 15.11.2018, was passed which rejected the nomination papers of the petitioner.

The ground being that the petitioner is an employee of the Postal department and is serving as Gramin Dak Sevak with the branch post office Wadipora.

The petitioner challenged the order citing provisions of J&K Panchyati Raj Act, and related rules saying that the power to reject the nomination papers is with the Returning Officer. The CEO is only an appellate authority, he pleaded.

He submitted that since the nomination papers have been rejected on the ground of alleged disqualification on account of being an employee of the government, the CEO being an appellate authority should not have passed the order of rejection of his nomination papers.

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