The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday permitted the Haryana government to hold elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions. "The high court has permitted Haryana state to hold elections to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. The elections will be held subject to the outcome of a bunch of writ petitions. These petitions will be heard in due course of time," advocate Deep Karan, representing one of the petitioners, said. He said the division bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli passed the order after accepting the state's plea to permit it to hold these elections which were getting delayed. "We had opposed it, but the court observed that since the elections are getting delayed, let us permit them to hold the elections," the counsel said.
The matter pertaining to the panchayat elections in Haryana was pending before the high court where multiple petitions have been filed challenging some amendments made by the state government in the Panchayati Raj Act. Karan said the state's plea was that its amendments are constitutional and it be permitted to hold the elections and the hearing in the case can go on. "I am representing two women who have challenged the restriction on women candidates on contesting from wards marked as odd numbers," he said. Notably, the term of the village panchayats in Haryana had ended on February 23, 2021. Opposition parties in Haryana have claimed that development work in the villages had been hampered on account of delay in holding the panchayat elections, with the Congress targeting the BJP-JJP government, accusing it of running away from the polls.
The Haryana government has appointed officers of the development and panchayat department as administrators to run the panchayat affairs.