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Using 2001 census figures in 2012 polls discriminatory: HC

mumbai Updated: Nov 29, 2011 02:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
civic elections

Barely two months before the civic elections, Andheri resident Rupesh Andhari has moved the Bombay high court questioning the validity of the draw that was held to decide ward-wise reservations.

The petition points out that the State Election Commission (SEC) had used figures of census 2011 for conducting elections in neighbouring Thane and Ulhasnagar, whereas ward-wise reservations for civic elections in Mumbai were drawn on the basis of census 2001 figures.

Alleging the election commission’s action was discriminatory, advocate AY Sakhare argued that the election commission should not have authorised the additional municipal commissioner (AMC) (elections) to go ahead with the draw declaring ward-wise reservation for the 2012 civic elections.

The AMC (elections) declared reservation for

wards after holding a draw on August 10.

According to the petitioner, the draw for declaration of ward-wise reservation should have been conducted after determining number of wards, fixing ward limits and earmarking number of reserved seats based on the latest census figures, as mandated by the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.

Sakhare also pointed out another fault with the draw alleging the provision of Article 243-T of the Constitution was not complied with while declaring ward-wise reservation. The provision requires rotation in constitutional reservation; the petitioner has alleged that in several wards, the same reservation is being repeated.

Acting on the plea, the court held that the election commission’s act of using 2001 census figures for conducting 2012 Brihnamumbai Municipal Corporation elections was, prima facie, discriminatory.

A division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Mridula Bhatkar directed the State Election Commission and the additional municipal commissioner (elections) to file affidavits in reply.

In addition, the petitioner has also sought direction to the SEC to determine the number of wards in proportion to voting population in the city, as recorded in census 2011, fix boundaries of wards and determine proportionate number of reserved seats before conducting the draw for reservation for civic wards.

The petition will come up for further hearing on December 8.