Srinagar, Aug 22: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Wednesday exempted from personal appearance the Chief Secretary and Chief (CS) Election Officer (CEO) of the UT of Ladakh in contempt petition filed by National Conference over “defiance” of court order regarding allotment of “plough” symbol to the party for ensuing LAHDC, Kargil elections.
A bench of Justice Sindhu Sharma exempted the two top officers from personal appearance while hearing their application on the ground that UT of Ladakh has filed an SLP before the Supreme Court against the court’s judgment and order dated 9 and 14 August respectively.
They submitted that the SLP was listed before the Supreme Court on August 22 and has now been listed for hearing on August 25. Therefore, they said, till the matter was heard by the top court, the proceedings in the contempt petition be deferred and the duo be exempted from personal appearance. “Since the Supreme Court is already seized of the matter, therefore, respondent Nos. 1 and 2 (Chief Secretary and CEO) are exempted from personal appearance till further orders from this court,” the court said.
On last date of the hearing in the contempt plea filed by National Conference, the court had directed the Chief Secretary and the CEO to appear in person if the plough symbol was not allotted to the party by today being the last date for filing nominations.
According to 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.