March 13, 2021 5:51:51 am
The Allahabad High Court on Friday heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea challenging the reservation policy for the upcoming panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh and asked the state government not to finalise the seat quotas before Monday, when the matter will be heard again.
The petition has challenged a government order, dated February 11, on the reservations for panchayat polls, which are scheduled to be held in April. A Bench of Justices Ritu Raj Awasthi and Manish Mathur heard the matter.
The petitioner argued that the current administration had ignored a government order from September 16, 2015, and was “proceeding to reserve the seats in terms of Rule 4 of Rules of 1994 by taking 1995 as the base year instead of 2015”.
The reservation policy was determined according to the Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Raj (Reservation and Allotment of Seats and Offices) Rules, 1994.
The petitioner’s counsel drew the judges’ attention to the order from 2015, which indicated that due to substantial demographic changes in the panchayat areas that occurred between the 2001 and 2011 censuses, it was no longer conducive to have 1995 as the base year for applying reservation as per Rule 4 of Rules of 1994.
The petitioner submitted that the 2015 order “is still in existence” and the 2015 panchayat elections were also held in accordance with it.
The court gave the lawyers of both sides “a day’s time to seek instructions with regard to aforesaid submissions”. Following the judges’ directions, Additional Chief Secretary (Panchayati Raj) Manoj Kumar Singh issued an order directing officials not to finalise the proceedings for seat reservation.
On February 10, the state cabinet had amended the UP Panchayati Raj (Reservation and Allotment of Seats and Offices) Rules, 2021, overturning the previous SP government’s parameters for calculating seat quota for the rural polls.
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