The Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a petition filed against the bifurcation of Panchkula Municipal Corporation by a former Kalka-based councillor Satinder Singh Tony, has issued a notice seeking reply from the government within two weeks. The petition also seeks a stay on the on-going process of holding elections for the Panchkula Municipal Corporation.
The next hearing in the case will be on November 11.
The petition filed by former councilor of ward 4 of Kalka region, has pointed out several legal grounds and has challenged the decision of bifurcation– also calling it “politically motivated.”
“In utter violation to the Resolution passed by the Municipal Corporation and the provisions of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, and further, in minimalistic consideration for the welfare of residents, the Respondents proceeded to segregate the Kalka-Pinjore section into Municipal Council Kalka from Municipal Corporation Panchkula,” the petition reads.
The petition points out the guidelines stated by the Haryana government which mandates that if a corporation or its residents want to constitute another municipality or redefine areas of the current one, they will have to pass a resolution and recommend it to the DC. As per Tony, in a meeting of general house of elected members and the other nominated members, after thorough deliberations, a detailed resolution was passed against the demand of any kind of altercation.
“The actions of the Respondents are in utter defiance to the Resolution passed by the Municipal Corporation Panchkula, the elected representatives of the people of respective wards, reflecting the will of the people,” the petition says.
During the discussions regarding the bifurcation, the elected councilors representing the areas of Kalka and Pinjore had put up a staunch resistance to any proposed segregations, as their respective areas had never witnessed development work and progression as it had recorded after its amalgamation with the Municipal Corporation of Panchkula, owing to the availability and allocation of larger funds to their areas and the benefits of the various central government-funded schemes available to a Municipal Corporation.
“Kalka-Pinjore are integral parts of Panchkula, with HUDA also active in the region. This arbitrary step would downgrade the entity of Kalka-Pinjore and also the fact that Kalka Pinjore Municipal Council cannot self-sustain its establishment charges, expenses and salaries as is evident from the past experience, when Kalka-Pinjore were not a part of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation and its own income, generated by the Municipal Committees, was less than 20 per cent of its establishment expenses,” says Tony in the petition filed at the High Court.
The petition comes at a time when the government has been rushing to begin the process of Panchkula MC elections– the division of wards has already been finalised, the voter list has been announced and the objections and claims have been called.
In 2018 as well, Tony had moved court against the bifurcation, which was then stayed by the High Court. The High Court in the final hearing on February 3, had disposed off the case, urging the government to “expeditiously” take a decision, within six months, on the bifurcation of Panchkula Municipal Corporation in consultation with the “former councillors of the MC.”
Calling the process of inviting objections on the bifurcation, which was announced by the government in July, an “eye wash”, Tony in the petition has alleged, “Inspite of having assured this Court that any contemplated exercise of segregation of the existing MC Panchkula, will only be done in due consultation with the existing MC Panchkula… no such endeavor was made by the respondents before promulgating the notification, much less any act of consultation. The respondents were so hell bent on effecting the act of segregation, that even before the impugned notification was finalised and notified officially, the act of delimitation of the existing Wards of Panchkula was finalised… None of the objections raised by petitioner (Tony) were even considered.”
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