The Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday directed the Andhra Pradesh government to conduct panchayat elections within three months. The court struck down a recent government order appointing special officers for the panchayats.
Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao of the High Court was dealing with a petition filed by a group of former sarpanches challenging the government's decision to run the administration in the villages with special officers after the term of the elected bodies ended in July.
The petitioners argued that the government was running the administration of local bodies in an undemocratic manner without conducting the elections. They submitted to the court that running the local bodies with special officers would hamper development in the villages.
The court agreed with the contention and directed the state government to conduct the polls within three months.
The High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is the common High Court for both the Telugu-speaking states.
When asked for a response on the court orders on the sidelines of an event being held in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that the state government was ready to hold the polls adding that the delay was due to issues related to reservation.
Just earlier this month, the court passed similar orders for the Telangana government and asked it to conduct panchayat polls at the earliest. It also sent a notice to the stateās Election Commission.
Following this, the EC approached the court and said that it was waiting for the state government to finalise the percentage of reservations under the provisions of the Telangana Panchayat Raj Act, 2018 and asked the court to issue orders to complete the process within a definite time frame, so that the commission could go ahead with the process of conducting the elections.