Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Mar 15:

The Orissa High Court today served notice to the State Election Commission (SEC) in connection with the amendment of rule 51 of Odisha Zilla Parishad Election Rules 1994 by the Panchayati Raj department just before the elections to posts of Chairpersons of Zilla Parishads (ZPs).

The Court has fixed March 17 as the next date of hearing for the matter.

It may be mentioned here that the BJP on Friday last had moved the High Court challenging the amendment of rule 51 of Odisha Zilla Parishad Election Rules 1994 by the state government.

The party had termed the amendment as undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional.

Sukhram Munda, a Zilla Parishad (ZP) member of the BJP from Sundargarh district had filed the petition in the High Court challenging the amendment.

Notably, as per the notification issued by the Panchayati Raj department on March 8, the following rule has been inserted after rule 51 in the Odisha Zilla Parishad Election Rules, 1994:

“51 A. (1) Every political party, whose member as an elector casts a vote for the purpose of election to the office of the President, or as the case may be, the Vice-President, may appoint one authorized agent and the President or the General Secretary of the State Level Political Party /State unit of the National Political Party shall, in writing, inform the same to the Election Officer with full details of the authorized agent proposed to be so engaged for the said election prior to the scheduled date of election.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in Rules 50 and 51, the Election Officer shall, between the period, when an elector being a member of a political party records his vote on a ballot paper and before such elector inserts that ballot paper into the ballot box, allow the authorized agent of that political party to verify as to whom such elector has cast his vote.”