Srinagar: Government on Monday once again deferred Srinagar Municipal Corporation(SMC) Mayor elections by three months.

The post of SMC Mayor fell vacant on June 16 and was to be filled up within a period of one month in terms of Section 36 of the Jammu & Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000.

However, on July 15 the election was deferred till September 15 in terms of the amendment made by the government in the rules, citing the health pandemic due to COVID-19.

Then the government inserted second provison to sub-section (2) of section 36 of the Act amid a notification issued by District Magistrate Srinagar (Chairman, District Disaster Management Authority, Srinagar), prohibiting any inward/outward movement in Micro Containment Zones of Srinagar District.

The Commissioner SMC had said that ninety six zones of the Srinagar District have been designated as micro containment zones for the management of COVID19, under the orders of the District Magistrate, and that a large number of Councilors reside/fall in these areas.

The Commissioner, it had said, also informed that as a result of the prohibition of inward and outward movement of people in and from these areas, the conduct of election to the post of Mayor within the period prescribed by Section 36 of the J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, read with second proviso of sub-section(2) of Section 36, which expires on 15 September, 2020, was not possible.

Now the government inserted third provison to sub-section (2) of section 36 of J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, notified vide SO 282 today which provides : “Provided also that the Government may, if the circumstances so warrant, on account of reasons of &ewe4 security, public health including health pandemic, natural calamity such as floods, earthquake, snowstorm or an event of a similar or ony other reason which is a hindrance to the conduct of election of the Mayor or the Deputy Mayor, by reasons to be recorded in writing, extend the time limit of conducting the elections up to a maximum of six months from the date the office of the Mayor or the Deputy Mayor falls vacant.”

Subsequent to it, the government, as per Global News Service, has ordered: “Now, therefore, in terms of the above proviso of Section 36 (2) of J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, in supersession of Government Order No. 158-JK(HUD) of 2020 dated 15.7.2010 and in view of the difficulty in the conduct of the election to the post of Mayor, SMC due to health pandemic-COVID-19 and management protocol related to it issued by District Magistrate, Srinagar (Chairman, District Disaster Management Authority Srinagar), the Government hereby extends the time limit for the conduct of said election to six months from the date the office of the Mayor fell vacant (June 16).” (GNS)

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