Without staying the election of the mayor in Mohali, which is scheduled for March 11, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued notices for March 23 on a petition filed by Congress councillor Kuljeet Singh Bedi, challenging voting by a show of hands.
Notices were issued to the Punjab government, director of the Department of Local Government, Divisional Commissioner of Patiala, Deputy Commissioner of SAS Nagar and Commissioner of the Mohali Municipal Corporation.
The bench of Justices Surya Kant and Naresh Kumar Sanghi stated that the election might be held on March 11, but the result would be subject to the decision on the petition.
Bedi has stated that the election of mayor, senior deputy mayor and the deputy mayor will be held by a show of hands, instead of secret ballot as provided under the original Punjab Municipal Corporations Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor Election Rules of 1991.
“Show of hands is an illegal, arbitrary manner and with malafide intention in gross violation and infringement of the privilege of secrecy provided to every voter,” said the petition.
Bedi’s counsel Ranjivan Singh said, “Secrecy is the basic essence of any electoral process and such amendment/provision give space for horse trading by way of coercion etc. So we have demanded that the notification of April 19, 2001 amending the rules be set aside.”
Meanwhile, the bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Lisa Gill disposed of the petition filed by Sukhdev Singh Patwari, Shiromani Akali Dal candidate from ward no. 47, who had challenged rejection of his nomination papers.
The court asked the Mohali Municipal Corporation to declare Patwari’s result and gave liberty to his opponents to file an election petition.
Earlier, the court had, in an interim order, directed that Patwari’s papers be accepted. After this, Patwari had won the election.