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Goa govt plans to strengthen State Election Commission, to amend Municipality & Panchayati Raj Act

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Chief Minister Pramod Sawant

The Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led Government of Goa has prepared a roadmap to bring in amendments in the Goa Panchayati Raj Act and Goa Municipalities Act with an aim to strengthen the State Election Commission (SEC). The move will result in providing the powers of reservation and delimitation to the SEC.

As per the present scenario, the rights of reservation and delimitation for civic elections vests with the directorate of panchayats and the department of urban development. CM Sawant, informing the state legislative assembly said, the government will go ahead with the proposed changes soon.

The state cabinet had nodded to the Goa Municipality (Amendment) Bill, 2021, looking forward to the devolution of partial powers to the SEC for carrying out delimitation and reservation. The state government modified the municipal reservations after the Supreme Court disagreed to allow the government’s appeal against a high court order which had quashed reservations for the civic elections that were notified by the government.

Rejecting the claims of political interference, CM Sawant informed the state assembly that the reservations were done on the basis of the 2011 Census. Earlier, Law Secretary Chokha Ram Garg, who also held the additional charge of the SEC, had to resign from his additional charge following the SC rap. Later, retired IAS officer W V Raman Murthy was appointed by the state government as Stae Election Commissioner.

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