Metres away from the Nawada Metro station, children streaming out of a government school and a private preparatory school are forced to walk through water overflowing from the drains in the area following the rain in Delhi in the past week. Garbage is strewn around and residents fear that diseases may soon spread. In the absence of a councillor, there is no authority to address the issue.
Disturbed by the situation, 20-year-old law student Sanjana Gahlot filed a PIL before the Delhi High Court to direct the State Election Commission to hold by-elections in the 13 Delhi wards where the position of councillor is vacant. “A councillor is the most important elected representative in a ward who addresses issues such as sanitation, cleanliness, development,” the PIL stated.
It was scheduled to be heard before the bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath on Wednesday but did not come up for hearing as HC lawyers had called for a strike. The case will now be heard on July 29.
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The councillors of nine wards had resigned from their position in December 2013 after being elected as MLAs in the Delhi Assembly elections. Four more resigned after the February 2015 Assembly polls. No by-elections have been held to fill the vacancies.
“Democratic and constitutional rights of the public to elect and choose their representative… has been snatched away by the state election commission, NCT of Delhi. It did not fill casual vacancies or follow the mandatory provisions of law…,” the PIL stated.
Seven wards in the South municipal corporation, four in North and two in the East are currently without councillors.