VIJAYAWADA: A day after State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar directed district collectors to keep ward volunteers away from the election process and keep their phones in safe custody, the State government on Monday challenged the directions of the SEC in the High Court.
In the House Motion petition, principal secretary (gram volunteer, ward volunteer, village secretariat and ward secretariat department) M Ajay Jain sought the court’s directives to strike down the SEC orders as they are “unilateral, anti-Constitutional and against the Panchayat Raj Act rules and regulations.
Advocate General S Sriram informed the court that with the directives of the SEC, the distribution of pensions, essential commodities and other welfare schemes will come to a halt. With the directions to keep the phones of volunteers in safe custody, the disbursement of pensions being done through the biometrics system will be affected, the advocate general informed the court.
Sriram also informed the court that volunteers are not affiliated to any political party. Referring to the SEC observations that they received complaints against volunteers during the elections to gram panchayats, Sriram informed the court that there is no evidence to show that volunteers have influenced the gram panchayat elections.
Sriram said the SEC can act against volunteers if there are specific instances of influencing voters during the polls, and said the entire system of volunteers cannot be brought to a halt and the SEC cannot stop welfare schemes of the government. Justice DVSS Somayajulu posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.