Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Govt may extend term of KHADC, JHADC

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SHILLONG, Jan 14: The state government is exploring the possibility of extending the term of the KHADC and the JHADC.
Sources on Sunday told The Shillong Times that the District Council Affairs department is likely to seek legal advice from the Advocate General for the extension of the term of two district councils.
According to sources, the government wants to postpone the elections since the exercise for delimitation of constituencies in both KHADC and JHADC is yet to be completed.
The sources said the DCA department is also expected to submit the request for an extension of the terms of the two councils to the Cabinet for approval.
The term of both KHADC and JHADC will end on March 5.
The point of contention is whether the state government’s plan to extend the terms of the two ADCs is legitimately based on the ongoing delimitation exercise.
Some political parties questioned whether the current delimitation process could lead to an extension of the ADCs’ terms.
The Constitution makes it very clear that an ADC’s term may be extended in two situations: first, in the event of a proclamation of emergency; and second, if the governor deems it impracticable to hold elections. Political experts have stated, “But we don’t see that the delimitation warrants such a situation.”
They claim that comparable delimitation exercises have already taken place in the two district councils.
“However, the government has never recommended that the term of the councils be extended,” they claimed.
The KHADC had conducted the delimitation exercise prior to the 2014 elections, and it was finished by December 2013.
It may be recalled that in 2014, the GHADC’s term was extended by the then Congress-led MUA-II Government in light of the settlement text that the ANVC and the Centre had agreed upon.
In the 2019 ADC elections, the DCA department scheduled the release of the preliminary voter lists to KHADC and JHADC on January 12 and set a deadline of January 22 for claims and objections.
The final electoral rolls were published on January 30. Nomination papers had to be submitted by February 8. The same day was set aside for the examination of paper nominations.
February 9 was the deadline for withdrawal of nominations, voting took place on February 27 and votes were counted on March 2.
However, it appears that the DCA department may be holding off on district council elections this time.
It is also pertinent to note that in October 2023, the government removed two officials of the DCA department and appointed Cyril V Diengdoh and A Mawlong, who apparently have no experience of district council affairs.
The removal of two senior officers who were in charge of the DCA department for a prolonged time raised eyebrows.
It should be noted that the state government and KHADC have already suffered a significant setback as a result of a petition that was submitted by Dominic Warjri, raising concerns about the “illegal action” of the EC of the KHADC in forming the Delimitation Committee, which is tasked with drawing boundaries between the 29 constituencies that fall under its purview.
On December 28, 2018, the Meghalaya High Court granted the petitioner permission to serve a notice on the KHADC and the state government, requesting that they list the case for hearing within four weeks.
According to the petitioner, the EC decided to reevaluate and closely inspect the delineation of the constituencies for the MDC elections through a notification on October 20.
He claimed that on November 15, the EC sent out a second notification inviting the people living in the constituencies to submit written views, objections, petitions, and representations regarding the proposed Delimitation Bill.
Warjri added that public hearing dates had been set and announced in the major local newspapers.
He said that the EC is carrying out the delimitation process without adhering to the mandatory procedures stipulated in the Constitution and the directives provided by the DCA department in a letter dated October 28, 2013.

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