Gujarat court upholds voting right of 10 farm societies

Gandhinagar, May 31 (IANS) Representatives of Gujarat’s 10 agriculturist cooperative societies have cast their votes for a district agriculture produce markets committee (APMC) after the Gujarat High Court Monday upheld their right to do so.

The representatives of the societies are part of the APMC as per the APMC Act and shall be allowed to cast their votes, the court ruled.

The court allowed the representatives of the cooperative societies of Jamnagar APMC, whose names were deleted from the voters’ list, to exercise their franchise a day after elections to district committees in the state were held.

The court, in an interim order, allowed the petitioner cooperative societies’ plea and directed the election officer to count their votes and keep these aside.

The result of these votes would be subject to the final decision on the petition, the court said.

Vibhapar Seva Sahakari Mandali Ltd and others through their advocate Dipen Desai filed a petition in the court and submitted that the election officer had removed their names from the voters list at the last moment by an order of May 27.

They submitted that the election officer delayed serving the order to the petitioners so that it could not be challenged in the court and elections could take place May 30. The petitioners argued that the act of the election officer was politically influenced.

While hearing the arguments, Justice D.H. Waghela said that prima facie it appears that the order of the election officer is in contempt of the high court’s ruling.

It was argued that an authorised officer had heard the petitioners on their objection to the deletion of their names from the voters’ list. However, the order on their plea was passed by an election officer who had not heard their plea.

Hence, the order was void, they said.

Justice Waghela after hearing both sides allowed casting of votes and posted the final hearing June 18.