Nagaland ULB Polls: ENPO Served Show-cause Notice - Eastern Mirror
Monday, June 24, 2024

Nagaland ULB polls: ENPO served show-cause notice

By EMN Updated: Jun 01, 2024 8:50 pm

DIMAPUR — The State Election Commission (SEC), Nagaland has issued a show-cause notice to the president of the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) over its repeated public declaration to collectively abstain from participating in the upcoming election to three municipal councils and 36 town councils in the state.

In the notice dated May 31, the SEC stated that it had responded to ENPO’s letter dated 15th May 2024, mentioning ‘why decision to vote or not to vote should be left to the conscience and freedom of the individual without being subject to some collective stance, while also referring to the Notice of Contempt served on several entities in the State by the Supreme Court of India’.

However, the ENPO reiterated its stance through a press statement, which appeared in local papers on May 31, it said.

“And whereas, the public declaration of abstention en bloc made through an organisation not only goes against the basic tenets of universal adult franchise and the constitutional and inviolable rights of absolute freedom of conscience and choice in electoral participation that every eligible citizen is entitled to, but it also amounts to exerting undue influence that should otherwise not be used either directly or indirectly in connection with the free exercise of electoral participation,” read the notice.

The SEC pointed out that the repeated public declaration made by the ENPO, which is essentially a pressure group and unrelated to the constitutional privilege of an electorate or an elector, ‘can be deemed as an attempt to infringe on the individual rights of the electorate to freely and without fear or undue pressure, participate in the electoral process on the basis of adult franchise’.

It can also be deemed as an interference with the superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of all municipality elections vested in the State Election Commission, it added.

Further, the SEC reminded that as per the civil appeal of 2016 consequent upon the notice of contempt served on the ENPO president by Supreme Court of India, they are under legal obligation to comply with the orders of the apex court on ensuring a free, fair and undisturbed electoral environment.

Citing the Sub-section (1) of Section 171 C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which says, “whoever voluntarily interferes or attempts to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right commits the offence of undue influence at an election”, the ENPO has been directed to show-cause to the SEC why action should not be initiated as per the code.

While maintaining that “the president of the ENPO has superintendence over its organisation and over the Eastern Nagaland Public Emergency Control Room with its headquarters in Tuensang district”, the SEC has directed to reply to the State Election Commissioner “without delay”.

It may be mentioned that the government of Nagaland has scheduled the much-delayed ULB election on June 26 with 33% reservation for women and the Model Code of Conduct is already in force. The counting of votes and declaration of results is scheduled for June 29.

The election will be held for 39 municipalities, comprising three municipal councils — Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung — and 36 town councils and a total of 142 wards out of 418 are reserved for women.

Out of the 36 town councils in the state, 14 are in six eastern districts of Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator and Tuensang.

By EMN Updated: Jun 01, 2024 8:50:09 pm
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