Thursday 08 Dec 2022

Polls for MMC chief to be held by secret ballot, HC told


Election for the post of Margao Municipal Chairperson will be conducted under secret ballot, informed Government Advocate in the High Court on Wednesday.

The High Court was hearing a writ petition filed by ousted Margao Municipal Chairperson Ganashyam Shirodkar seeking clarity on the procedure to be adopted by the Presiding Officer to conduct the election for the vacant post of MMC Chairperson.

The Government Advocate, sources informed, submitted before the Court that election for the post of Municipal Chairpersons will be held as per the rules in force under secret ballot.

After his ouster from office in a no-confidence motion last week, the former MMC Chairperson had knocked the doors of the High Court, with apprehensions that the election for the vacant post of MMC Chairperson will be held by show of hands.

In his petition, Shirodkar had submitted that the process of voting by show of hands for electing the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson of the Municipal Council are illegal, arbitrary and in complete violation of the principle of free and fair elections. 

The Petitioner submits that that Rule 7 of the Goa Municipalities (Chairperson and Vice Chairperson Elections) Rules, 1969, mandates voting for Chairperson of the Municipal Council by way of secret ballot thereby, keeping the elections free and fair and maintaining the purity of the elections and its nonobservance will vitiate the whole election.

Expressing satisfaction over the High Court verdict, Shirodkar told the media that he had moved the High Court with the apprehension that the election for the vacant post of MMC chairperson will be done by show of hands. 

He pointed out that with the Government Advocate submitting before the High Court that the elections will be carried out as per the rules in force by secret ballot, it will not allow any room for the politicians to manipulate and force the officials to change the rule book in respect of elections.

To a question whether he would seek reelection for the vacant post of Chairperson, Shirodkar said “Whether or not, I will run for the chairperson’s post again will depend on the support of my colleague councillors. If they want me to contest in the interest of the city, I am ready to seek re-election. We have to put an end to the politics of taking oath on coconuts and swearing on God in the temples.”

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