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Order on MCD election reserved for Monday

Delhi HC reserves its verdict on a petition challenging the method of reserving constituencies for women and SC candidates.

delhi Updated: Mar 04, 2007 02:50 IST

The Delhi High Court on Saturday reserved its verdict on a petition challenging the method of reserving constituencies for women and scheduled caste candidates by the Delimitation Commission for the coming election of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

Justice BD Ahmed reserved his order for Monday after hearing the arguments from the petitioner, a municipal councillor, and the State Election Commission.

Justice Ahmed held the court on Saturday, a holiday due to urgency of the matter as the election process for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) with 272 ward had already begun.

Senior Counsel BP Chaudhury appearing for Minto Road Councillor Ramesh Dutta submitted that the Delimitation Commission had reserved the constituencies without assigning any reason.

"There are at least 36 discrepancies in the report which had reserved one third of constituencies for women candidates," said counsel Chaudhury.

The government recently notified the commission report increasing the wards to 272 from 134 in the present Council, said Chaudhury.

But according to the law, the methodology adopted for the reservation too had to be notified along with the notification of the constituencies, he said.

During the arguments, Justice Ahmed asked counsel for the State Election Commission, AK Tripathy, to explain why the commission has not given reasons for reserving the constituencies.

"Can you also determine the manner on what basis you are going to rotate the constituencies next time?" questioned the judge.

Tripathy said that one third of the constituencies had been reserved in accordance with the provisions of the 74th amendment of the constitution and would be rotated next time.

The state election commission is the authority which looks after the delimitation of the constituencies. The state election commissioner acts as the Delimitation Commission chairman.

The petitioner has sought direction to quash the notification of the commission saying it was arbitrary and mala fide, which denied him an opportunity to contest from either the Minto Road or Darya Ganj ward by reserving both for women.

The Commission has split the Minto Road ward into Minto Road and Darya Ganj, said the petitioner adding that this has deprived him of his right to contest from a seat of his choice.

No rational principle was applied for reservation of the seats and the manner, in which wards were reserved, has defeated the purpose of rotating reserved seats, the petitioner contended.

Subsequently six more petitions were also filed by sitting councillors and aspirants seeking the same directions.