In a significant order, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh Election Commission to ensure holding of the village panchayat elections by April 30 this year.
A bench of justices Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Rohit Ranjan Agarwal gave the order, rejecting the state's poll panel's undertaking to hold the rural civic body elections by May 2021.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the counsel for the poll panel had placed before the court a tentative schedule of the panchayat elections.
After going through the schedule, the bench had observed, "The schedule of the election given by the Election Commission shows its completion in May 2021. Prima facie, we cannot accept the schedule given by Election Commission."
"As per the mandate of the Constitution, the election of the Panchayat should have been held on or before January 13, 2021," it had said.
The court''s order came on a plea by a former village pradhan of UP Hathras district, Vinod Upadhyay, seeking directions to the state poll panel to issue notifications for holding the panchayat election in accordance as per the provisions of Article 243-E of Constitution.
The petitioner had also sought a direction to the state government against interfering in the functioning of Zila Panchayat till then.
Following the expiry of the five-year term of Uttar Pradesh gram panchayats and village panchayat head on December 25, the state government had asked the district administration to take over the panchayat administration.
Following this notification, the district administration had appointed assistant development officers were given the charge of the panchayat administrators of all panchayat bodies, numbering 58,758 in the state.