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Bombay HC dismisses pleas challenging multi-member ward system for civic bodies

As per the government decision, there will be a three-member ward system in municipal corporations and a two-member ward system in municipal councils.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 6, 2022 4:11:48 pm
Maharashtra inmates, Bombay HC, Maharashtra home dept, Inmates contact, Indian expressOn Friday, a division bench of Justice AA Sayed and Justice Abhay Ahuja concluded hearing and orally said that the pleas are dismissed and reasoned verdict will be made available in due course. (File)

The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected two pleas challenging state government decision of October last year which reintroduced a multi-member ward system for all municipal councils and corporations barring BMC, instead of the existing single-member ward system.

As per the government decision, there will be a three-member ward system in municipal corporations and a two-member ward system in municipal councils.

In other words, municipal seats will be demarcated together to create a three-member and two-member ward system in corporations and councils respectively. There will be no change in the number of wards or corporators; the wards will be bunched together only for the purpose of the election.

A division bench led by Justice A A Sayed  was hearing two petitions filed by Tanmay Kanitkar of NGO Parivartan Trust from Pune and Maruti Bhapkar, a former corporator of Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, which claimed that the decision was “politically motivated” and “creates discrimination between voters from Mumbai and other parts of the state.”

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Advocates Asim Sarode, Ajit Deshpande and Ajinkya Udane said electing multiple corporators from every ward “disturbs good governance.”

The petitioners added that ruling Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, by coming together, will be able to field candidates in each electoral ward. “It is only under the garb of collective representation, the present government aims to get political mileage… and if multi-member wards are so effective, why does the government not apply the same to the BMC as well?” the plea asked.

However, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for state government opposed the plea and claimed then to be non-maintainable. State Election Commission (SEC) also opposed the plea.

On Friday, a division bench of Justice AA Sayed and Justice Abhay Ahuja concluded hearing and orally said that the pleas are dismissed and reasoned verdict will be made available in due course.

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