‘Special revision’ row: Himachal HC orders Shimla MC elections by June 18
Asks state govt to make arrangements till new MC takes charge on June 19; term of present House ends on June 4india Updated: May 29, 2017 14:29 IST
The Himachal Pradesh high court on Monday directed the state election commission to conduct the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) elections by June 18.
The high court bench, comprising justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and justice CB Barowalia, asked the state election commission to notify the election plan within 24 hours of receiving the judgment. “Take all consequential action to ensure that the elections are held no later than June 18, even if this calls for deviation from Rule 33 (regarding election programme),” read the 46-page judgment.
On May 9, the commission had deferred the elections that were due before June 4, the day the tenure of the current municipal body ends. The commission cited discrepancies in the voter list and ordered its “special revision”.
- The Shimla municipal corporation, set up in 1851, is one of the oldest civic bodies in India
- At present, it has 25 wards after delimitation, it will have 34 wards
- As per the May 5 voter list, there are over 88,000 voters in the Shimla MC
- The present mayor and deputy mayor belong to the CPM.
Local resident Raju Thakur filed a petition in the high court, submitting that delaying the election violated the law.
Acting on his petition, the court observed that the revision of the electoral rolls cannot stall the poll process and should have been done in a timely manner. “It is incumbent upon the state election commission and other respondents to carry out the mandate of the Constitution and to ensure that a new municipality is constituted in time. The election to the municipality should be conducted before the expiry of its duration of five years as specified in Clause (1) of Article 243 (4),” the judgment read.
It ruled that the revision of electoral rolls was required to be carried out in time by the respondents and if that has not been done so within the time-frame, the election has to be conducted on the basis of the existing electoral rolls.
The court said that the authorities should ensure that the new body of elected representatives of the corporation is constituted by June 19. The election shall be conducted on the basis of the final electoral rolls published on May 5, 2017.
“The elected and nominated body of the municipal corporation shall not be permitted to be in office after June 4, 2017, and it shall be the duty of the state government to put in place a proper mechanism to ensure that the working of the corporation does not suffer on account of implementation of this judgment,” the bench ruled.