A Kandivli resident has moved the Bombay high court challenging constitutional validity of an amendment in the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations and Municipal Councils Act increasing women’s quota in civic bodies from 33 percent to 50 percent.
The state government amended the Act in April this year, taking a cue from the Centre’s Women's Reservation Bill cleared by Rajya Sabha last year.
Kapoorchand Gupta, president of a local hawker’s association in Kandivli, has challenged the validity of the amendment contending that it substantially brings down the number of seats available for open category candidates and makes it virtually impossible for them to contest civic elections in Mumbai.
Gupta, who wishes to contest the forthcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, has contended that the amendment has left only 77 seats for candidates from the open category out of the total 227 seats.
He states that reservation should be provided if a particular section of the community is at some disadvantage compared to other sections and this is not the case with women in the city. “Women stand at par with men and do not suffer any disadvantage warranting excessive reservation of half of all the seats of the corporation,” the petition said.
Gupta cited figures from 2007 BMC elections that 11 women candidates had won from open category seats, apart from the seats exclusively earmarked for them. This, according to him, proves that women were not in a disadvantageous position, and the situation did not demand further reservation. A division bench of justice DK Deshmukh and justice RG Ketkar posted the petition for hearing on August 22.