HC rejects plea challenging quota in local body polls

The Allahabad High Court on Friday rejected the petition challenging the reservation policy of the state government in the elections to the urban local bodies scheduled for June,saying it was not maintainable.

Written by Express News Service | Allahabad | Published: June 2, 2012 3:39 am

The Allahabad High Court on Friday rejected the petition challenging the reservation policy of the state government in the elections to the urban local bodies (ULBs) scheduled for June,saying it was not maintainable. However,the court said that the view taken by the state government of treating this election as the “first election” and not taking the 2006 ULB elections in consideration was incorrect and required review.

The Division Bench of Justices R K Agarwal and Mushaffey Ahmed said: “The reservation provided in the notification dated May 23,2012,is on the premise that the present election is the first election to be held after the UP Act Number 25 of 2006 (Uttar Pradesh Municipality Act) has come into force,which is not the correct view and reservation is to be made in accordance with clause (f) of sub-section (5) (1) of Section 9-A of the Act. We are of the view that the reservation as notified.requires to be re-examined.”

The court said that clause (f) of the said section clearly specified that the same post of an ULB cannot be reserved for the same category twice.

The petitioner,Krishna Gopal Varshneya,a resident of Jalesar in Etah district,wanted to contest for the post of chairperson,Jalesar Nagar Palika. But the notification of the state government,issued on May 23,had reserved it for the Scheduled Castes (SC).

Varshneya had approached the court with the plea that the post could not have been reserved for SC candidate. In 2006,the post was reserved for an SC candidate and,by the rotational reservation policy that is supposed to be followed; it should have been left open for general category.

In its counter-affidavit,the state government submitted that the amendments made in the Act that followed the ordinance on the basis of which the previous elections of 2006 were held,had confused the position on reservations. Hence,it was treating the elections to be held in June as the first election.

The state government had also questioned the maintainability of the petition on the ground that the elections have already been announced through a notification on May 25.

The court agreed with the contention of the state government that,under the Constitution,the High Court did not have the power to stop or protract the election proceedings and,therefore,they could not entertain the petition as that would mean interfering with the election process.

However,the court said the manner in which the state government finalised the reservation policy and issued the notification on May 23 had “shaken its conscience”.

The court noted that the last date for filing of objections on the reservation policy was May 23. The petitioner had filed his objections earlier. But the state government issued the notification on May 23,while rejecting his objections on the same day.

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