The MCD election was notified by the State Election Commission on November 4. The polling will take place on December 4 and the counting of votes will take place on December 7.
The observation came in a batch of pleas challenging the delimitation of certain wards and their reservation.
The counsel appearing for the petitioners orally argued before a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad that until the matters are decided, the MCD elections should be stayed. “Once election is notified, we can’t stay it,” the high court observed.
The court thereafter issued notices to the State Election Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Delhi government and listed the pleas for hearing on December 15 along with another matter on a similar issue.
In one of the pleas, the petitioner said that he intends to contest the elections but the wards from where he wanted to contest were allotted to either Scheduled Caste (SC) or SC women candidates.
Another plea stated that reservation in municipal wards for SCs was arbitrary and that the said impugned reservation order suffered from various legal infirmities that defeated the intention and very purpose of inserting Article 243T (related to reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in every municipality) in the Constitution of India. This plea has challenged a State Election Commission order of October 20 on reservation of wards.
In a similar matter listed on October 28, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee President Anil Kumar challenged the Centre’s gazette notification of October 17 whereby 250 wards were notified “without making the serious changes in the formation of wards” as suggested by Kumar in his representation to the authorities concerned. Kumar had sought quashing of the notification of wards dated October 17 as the same is “unconstitutional and ultra vires” and further sought a direction to the respondents to make fresh delimitation of the wards as per the prescribed formula.
Kumar’s plea states that the wards have been divided on the basis of community and religion, which is a violation of the basic tenets of the Constitution of India. Further, the list of 250 wards published in the gazette notification has been done without carrying out proper field surveys/inspections of the wards to screen all the anomalies as pointed out by the citizens, including Kumar, his plea adds.
The MCD comprises 250 wards, down from the 272 that made up the civic body before it was unified earlier this year. Before unification, the MCD was split into three – South, North and East. Elections were to be held in April, but right before the announcement of the election schedule, the Centre declared its intention to unify the three civic bodies, leading to a delay. Of the 250 wards, 42 have been reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates, in proportion to their population percentage as per the 2011 Census.