The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday dismissed SAS Nagar councillor Kuljit Bedi’s petition against election of the mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor of SAS Nagar Municipal Corporation through show of hands.
The petition had earlier also been dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana high court on March 9. The petitioner has been objecting to the elections through show of hands, and demanding that it be done using secret ballot paper. However, with the Supreme Court dismissing the petition, the elections will now be held through show of hands.
Another petition challenging the state government’s decision of reserving the mayor’s post for a woman is pending in the high court.
Though the HC division bench headed by justice Surya Kant had issued notices to state government, local bodies department director, SAS Nagar deputy commissioner and municipal corporation commissioner, it later on March 9 decided that the elections would be conducted by show of hands.
Thereafter, Kuljit Bedi on April 6 moved the Supreme Court against the HC decision.
Bedi had argued that the decision was unconstitutional and arbitrary, and the amendment in the Punjab Municipal Corporation mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor Election Rules, 1991, was unconstitutional.
The petitioner had argued that as per rule 3(1) of the 1991 rules, the elections for the coveted posts in the state municipal corporations were to take place by secret ballot. However, through a notification in 2001, the rules were amended. The petitioner had alleged mala fide intention of the government behind the move. He further argued that secrecy, which was basic essence of any electoral process, would not remain in the process and new provisions would lead to horse-trading. However none of his arguments stood in the either of the courts.