SC sets aside notification for Ladakh Hill Council Polls, says NC Entitled to ‘Plough’ Symbol

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the August 5 notification of the election department of the Union Territory of Ladakh for the hill council polls and ordered issuance of a fresh election schedule within a week. Holding that the National Conference is entitled to the ‘plough’ symbol, a bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Ahsanuddin Amanullah also dismissed the plea by the Ladakh administration opposing the allotment of the symbol to the party and imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on it.
The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court had dismissed the Ladakh administration’s plea against a single bench order allowing NC candidates to contest the upcoming polls for the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil, on the party symbol.
The Ladakh administration had approached a division bench of the high court against the single bench order of August 9 which directed the National Conference to approach the office of the election department of the administration of Ladakh to notify the reserved symbol ‘plough’ already allotted to it for in the polls.
According to a notification issued by the election department on August 5, the polling for 26 seats of the 30-member LAHDC, Kargil, is scheduled for September 10 and the counting of votes will take place four days later.
The apex court had on September 1 reserved its verdict on a plea by the National Conference challenging the denial of ‘plough’ symbol to its candidates for the LAHDC polls.
Earlier, the bench had termed as unfair the act of the UT administration of not granting the ‘plough’ poll symbol to the party for the hill council elections despite the order of the high court.
“It is unfair… We will set aside the election schedule if need arises,” the bench had observed on August 25 while hearing the appeal of the Union Territory of Ladakh against the order of the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court. It had earlier refused to stay the high court order on allotting the ‘plough’ poll symbol to the party. (Agencies)