Bill gives CEO power to delimit Panchayat halqas, prepare rolls

Bill gives CEO power to delimit Panchayat halqas, prepare rolls
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Powers to remain with chief electoral officer till state election commission is constituted

JAMMU: The legislative assembly on Saturday passed a bill amending the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, so as to give powers to chief electoral officer to prepare electoral rolls for pachayat elections and delimit halqas in the absence of state election commission.
Explaining the reasons to amend the Act, the Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Law and Justice Abdul Haq said that government is contemplating to conduct the elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions shortly as the elections could not be held in the year 2016 due to obvious law and order/security situation in the Kashmir Valley.
He said the State Election Commission which has been empowered inter alia to determine and delimit the Halqa Panchayats in terms of the Act could not be constituted due to various reasons and in view of the population census, 2011 and the delimitation of various Administrative Units, there is a requirement of determining and delimiting the Halqa Panchayats in the State for which power lies with the State Election Commission which is not in place. “Accordingly, a need had arisen to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 so that the desired object could be achieved”.
He said The bill seeks to amend the Act to provide that till the State Election Commission is constituted under the Act, the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for and the conduct of, all elections as well as the powers to delimit and determine the Halqa Panchayats in accordance with this Act shall vest in the Chief Electoral Officer.
Legislators Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mubarak Gul, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Rajiv Jasrotia, GM Saroori participated in the debate and suggested constitution of a joint Select Committee to examine the amendment bill while as Shah Mohammad Tantray supported the bill. However the house passed the bill through voice vote and the amendments given by Ali Mohammad Sagar were rejected by the house.

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