Despite the HC having upheld the Caste Scrutiny Committee’s 2017 order disqualifying three BMC corporators for not providing “sufficient evidence” to prove their caste, they cannot be disqualified as yet. Disqualification procedures against the three — Kesharben Patel and her husband Murji from Jogeshwari (West), both from BJP, and Rajpat Yadav of the Congress from Kandivali (East) — will now be initiated only if their appeal fails. The runner-up candidates in these three wards can then initiate the process to claim their qualification.
As per the procedure, after disqualification is declared by a court, the runners-up may approach the Small Causes Court — the “final word” on disqualification, according to civic officials — to claim their qualification as corporator. It is then sent to the civic general body for its approval, after which the Mayor announces the disqualification in the House, and declares the runner-up candidate’s name.
Section 16 (1) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, on disqualification of a councillor, says a person shall be disqualified if he/she has been disqualified by any law. It adds that the disqualification shall be for a period of six years from the date of conviction. It says a person can be disqualified if he/she has been convicted by a court in India of any offence involving moral turpitude, unless six years have elapsed since the date of conviction.