Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has dismissed the Ladakh administration’s plea against a single bench order of allowing National Conference candidates to contest the upcoming LAHDC polls, Kargil, on the party symbol.
The Union Territory of Ladakh had approached a division bench of the court against the single bench order of August 9 which directed the NC to approach the office of the Election Department of the Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh for notifying the reserved symbol (Plough) already allotted to for the polls.
In their plea, the admin contended that even if the NC is entitled to be allowed to use the symbol, the authority to give such concession is the Election Commission of India and not the Election Authority of UT of Ladakh
In their order on August 14, a division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice M A Chowdhary said, “Since the election pertains to the LAHDC, Kargil, the Election Commission of India is not the authority to conduct the elections and it would be the UT Authority which will be primarily responsible for the conduct of the elections for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils.
“…It has been provided under Section 59 of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils Act, 1997 that the Government may make rules to regulate all or any of the matters mentioned therein for the purpose of holding of elections of members under this Act,” the 10-page order said.
It also added that there is hardly any scope for examining the same in view of the admitted position regarding the allotment of the symbol of “Plough” to the National Conference as a recognised State Party in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, the court said.
The present appeal stands dismissed, it said.
According to a notification issued by the election department on August 5, the election to 26 seats of the 30-member Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil, is scheduled for September 10 and the counting of votes will take place four days later.
“Keeping in view that the upcoming general election of LAHDC (Kargil) stands announced, the petitioner-party (National Conference) is directed to approach the office of the respondents (Ladakh Election department), for notifying the reserved symbol (Plough) already allotted to it ,” Justice Sindhu Sharma had said in her five-page order last week.
The National Conference had submitted that being the recognised state political party under section 29 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 read with the election symbols (Reservation and allotment) order 1968, it is entitled to contest the upcoming general election of LAHDC, Kargil on allotted election symbol.
The counsel for the NC, Shariq Reyaz, had submitted that the National Conference was recognised as a state political party in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, which included the Union Territory of Ladakh also.