Aqib Ali
Srinagar, Oct 30:  The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has granted three weeks time to Election Commission of India for filling reply to a petition, seeking conducting of elections to fill up the Anantnag Parliamentary seat.
The petition has been filed by one of the candidates, GM Wani (Independent) and he has sought the high court’s directions to the ECI to conduct the elections as soon as possible.
A single bench of the court comprising Justice M K Hanjura granted the ECI three weeks time after its counsel advocate S A Makroo sought the same. “(Union Home Ministry) is at liberty file the reply within (same time),” the court according to Kashmir Glory said.
The Election Commission of India in May this year rescinded  the by-election for Anantnag parliamentary seat scheduled on May 25, reasoning that “free and fair poll is not possible due to prevailing ground situation and non-availability of sufficient security forces.”
In its order, the three-member Commission headed by then Chief Election Commissioner Dr Nasim Zaidi rescinded the notification for the election after reports from the J&K administration and State’s Chief Electoral Officer that “there has been no noticeable improvement in the law and order situation in Anantnag parliamentary constituency.”
The ECI, according to the order, cited the apprehensions expressed by the State’s Chief Electoral Officer that there may be reluctance on the part of the polling personnel to go to the polling locations “in view of fear in their minds with regard to their safety and security (which) is also a matter of serious concern.”
The bypoll, earlier slated to be held on April 12, was postponed for May 25 following unprecedented protests and clashes and low voter turnout in Srinagar Lok Sabha segment on April 9. At least eight civilians were killed by security forces on the day of polling for the Srinagar-Budgam segment.
The Commission had said the by-poll will be held for Anantnag “when the situation becomes conducive for the same.”