Two petitions challenging introduction of the multi-member ward system in civic bodies across Maharashtra, except the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, was rejected by the Bombay high court on Friday.
Pune resident Vinayak Bhilare and a local office bearer of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, Vaishali Chandane had approached the court challenging an amendment made to the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 and Maharashtra Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Townships Act, 1965.
The amendment, first introduced in 2000 and scrapped four years later, was reintroduced in May 2005 along with another amendment increasing women’s quota in civic bodies from 33 % to 50%.
Chandane’s counsel, Prakash Ambedkar, had argued the system of single representation of a constituency as provided in the Representation of Peoples Act, 1950, was binding on the
State Legislature, as it had no power to adopt the alternate system. The contention failed to impress the division bench of justice SA Bobde and justice VK Tahilramani.
“There is nothing in law which requires that only one member should be elected from a ward at municipal elections,” the judges observed while dismissing both the petitions.