Cuttack: The High Court on Wednesday stayed the State Election Commission (SEC) directive on banning support of political parties to the sarpanch, panchayat samiti member and ward member candidates for the ensuing panchayat poll.

A single judge bench of Justice S K Mishra issued the notice and fixed the next hearing for Thursday.

The stay came in response to a writ petition filed by Hiramani Singh, a sarpanch candidate from Mithrapur gram panchayat saying that the direction of the SEC is infringing the political rights of candidates.

It is noteworthy to mention that the SEC through its January 19 directive had asked the candidates not to take the support of any political party while campaigning.

The SEC had banned the candidates from using the party symbols and names of its leaders during campaigning for the elections. All political parties aside from the Nationalist Congress Party had raised serious objections to the directives by the SEC.

Now the sarpanch, panchayat samiti member, and ward member candidates can openly campaign in the name of their respective political parties.