The Punjab government’s decision to allegedly nominate members of delimitation boards for the purpose of delimitation of wards of municipalities across the state from among workers and leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been challenged before the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The petition filed by Rajeshwar Singh, claiming to be media in-charge and spokesperson of the district Congress committee, Rupnagar, came up for hearing before the division bench headed by justice Surya Kant on Monday. Since petitioner’s counsel Surjit Singh Swaich informed the court that the matter was of public interest, the court issued directions to list the petition before the court hearing public interest litigations on September 17.
The petitioner had alleged that the ruling SAD-BJP combine, with an arbitrary intention, had issued the notifications on August 13 and 14 and no member/worker or leader of the Congress, the main opposition party in the state, or of any other party had been nominated on the said boards.
As per law, the delimitation boards are supposed to be independent and impartial institutions, and members of municipalities representing various political parties are only ‘associate members’ without any voting right or authority to sign any decision of the board, the court was informed.
The petition read, “The mala fide action of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance is writ large as the rules have been twisted, tweaked and tailor-made specially to accommodate both SAD and BJP workers/members and leaders in the delimitation boards by issuing notification for the amendment of the Delimitation of Wards of Municipalities Rules, 1972, on August 13, one day prior to the issuance of a fresh notification for the nomination of members to the said boards by superseding the earlier notifications of June 26 and July 1.”