The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday stayed the mayoral elections of SAS Nagar municipal corporation (MC) while taking up two petitions filed by councillors.
The bench of justice Jaswant Singh directed the MC not to convene the meeting for mayoral elections and sought replies from the state government, local bodies department director and SAS Nagar deputy commissioner by March 25.
The petitioners, Manjit Singh Sethi and Amrik Singh, both winning independent candidates, had contended that the decision to reserve the post of mayor for women was a politically motivated one, and the post could not be reserved.
They had submitted that as per the amended schedule of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, in 2012, the office of the mayor had been reserved by serial number.
“Under any circumstances, the post of mayor in the SAS Nagar municipal corporation could not have been reserved for anyone. The order of government reserving post of mayor was totally contrary to the Punjab MC Act, as well as the 1996 Rules,” petitioner’s lawyer Puneet Gupta submitted.
They further argued that till date, no post had been reserved for any category where reservation had to be given as envisaged in Rule 6-A of the Punjab MC Act for scheduled caste, women or the backward class as that point on the roster (serial number-wise reservation) had not arisen.
The Punjab government counsel requested the high court to adjourn the hearing for a day so as to seek instructions.
At that point, the bench summoned the advocate general Punjab, Ashok Aggarwal, and adjourned the hearing for a few hours. As the state AG could not attend the hearing, the HC stayed the election and asked various respondents to file replies.