SC stays HC order, by-polls on Dec 13

NEW DELHI/SHILLONG: The much debated by-polls to the seven vacant district council seats is likely to be held on December 13 as decided by the State government since the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the order of the High Court of Meghalaya but fixed no next date for hearing.
The seven seats fell vacant following the resignation of seven MDCs who were also MLAs after the dual post Bill was passed by the Assembly with effect from October 1 last year.
Earlier on September 1, the High Court had disapproved the date fixed by the State cabinet for holding the by-election to the seven constituencies (KHADC- 6 and JHADC- 1).
“The Supreme Court stayed the High Court’s interim order, which had disapproved the State’s proposal to hold by-election on December 13,” Supreme Court lawyer and State government counsel Ranjan Mukherjee said on Friday.
Now with the Supreme Court staying the High Court order and not fixing the next date, elections are likely to be held as scheduled by the State government.
The government had proposed November 28 as the last date for filing nominations for the District Council by-polls. The last date for withdrawal of nomination papers was proposed on December 1.
The date of finalising and publication of valid nomination and allocation of symbol was fixed for December 3; December 13 and December 16 were proposed for the by-poll and counting, respectively, but the whole schedule was rejected by the High Court.
During the hearing on the matter on Thursday, the High Court of Meghalaya had deferred the decision related to holding the by-polls to September 14 in view of pendency of the special   leave petition filed in the Supreme Court by Mukherjee.
But since the Apex Court has stayed the order and not fixed any date for next hearing, the September 14 hearing may not take place.
Earlier, the State government had filed an affidavit before the High Court stating the decision of the cabinet to hold the polls on December 13.
Mukherjee said though it was not recorded in the order dated September 9, the Supreme Court said the State government should stick to the schedule that was duly approved by the cabinet and awaiting notification from the Governor.