Indirect election of Sarpanchs
Governor, NN Vohra has sought clarifications from the State Government on the controversial bill that proposes indirect election of Sarpanchs instead of a direct election.
Amid demands by opposition National Conference and Congress to withhold assent of the contentious bill cleared by the State legislature, Raj Bhavan has asked the Government to come up with reasons that compelled it to revert to the old method of electing Sarpanchs.
Under Village Panchayat Act which was enacted in 1958, Sarpanchs were elected by Panchs.
However, in 1989, the State Government enacted J&K Panchayati Raj Act to hold direct election for the post of Sarpanchs.
But, the PDP Government amended the J& K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 in the recently held budget session to return to the old method of electing Sarpanchs indirectly.
Sources said the Governor has sought detailed clarifications from the Government on the need for amending the law.
"He has asked queries regarding the necessity for amending the law and hindrances, if any, in holding direct election for Sarpanchs," sources disclosed.
When contacted, Commissioner Secretary Rural Development Department, Khursheed Ahmad Shah said they have not yet received clarifications on the bill from Raj Bhavan.
"We have not received any such communique from the Governor's secretariat till Saturday evening," he said.
The opposition had objected to passage of the bill in both law-making Houses, saying "it was an effort to weaken the Panchayati Raj system in the state".
Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah had alleged that it was an overt attempt to weaken the system by scuttling democratic principles and making it a window for coercion, corruption and malpractices to manipulate elections.
"This is likely to have far-reaching consequences and eventually discredit and weaken the Panchayati Raj system in the state," he had stated in a memorandum submitted by NC leaders to Governor on July 1 here.