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Municipal Delimitation: Notification issued on behalf of governor, govt tells HC

The Uttarakhand government on Monday told the High Court that notification for delimitation of municipal bodies was issued on behalf of the governor in accordance with the provisions of Article 166 of the Constitution

dehradun Updated: May 21, 2018 22:34 IST
Neeraj Santoshi
Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Nainital
Uttarakhand News
Counsel for the petitioners argued that according to provisions of the Constitution, it was the discretion of the governor to issue the notification.(HT Photo)

The Uttarakhand government on Monday told the High Court that notification for delimitation of municipal bodies was issued on behalf of the governor in accordance with the provisions of Article 166 of the Constitution.

The counsel for the petitioners, however, argued that according to the various provisions of the Constitution, it was the discretion of the Governor to issue the notification.

A division bench of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma was hearing the special appeal filed by the state government challenging the the quashing of the delimitation notification by the high court recently

The hearing in the matter will continue on Tuesday.

The Uttarakhand government had expanded the limits of municipal bodies in November last year to bring a large number of villages under their ambit. Hearing a bunch of petitions from villagers from over half a dozen districts of the state including Nainital, Dehradun, US Nagar, Champawat, Haridwar, Uttar Kashi, Pithoragarh, and Pauri, the bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia had on May 14 quashed the notification that sought to bring villages on the periphery of municipal bodies under their purview. The government had on Thursday challenged an order passed by a single bench quashing the notification for delimitation of municipal bodies.

The counsel of the petitioners had argued in the court that state government cannot issue such a notification as it was the Governor who had the power to issue it.

Advocate general SN Babulkar, who argued the case in the court on Monday, told media that they have maintained that the notification was issued on behalf of the Governor and Governor means the state government.

VBS Negi, former advocate general and counsel of the petitioners from Rishikesh, said that he argued that in the provisions regarding delimitation of municipalities the word ‘government’ was replaced by ‘Governor’ in the 74th amendment of the constitution in 1992 and later the UP Municipality Act 1994 was amended accordingly.

“If issuing notification is not the discretion of the Governor, then why was Governor word specifically brought into the Constitution. Also, it is being argued that this matter has been dealt with in the case of Shamsher Singh vs state of Punjab, 1974. But this case is a pre-constitutional amendment and as such, it cannot be referred in the present matter,” he said.

Negi said of 16 cases that were filed against the delimitation of the municipal bodies from over half a dozen districts, the state government had filed a special appeal in 15 cases.

The civic polls are scheduled to be to be held in 86 of the 92 municipal bodies in the state. Earlier the state government had delimitated 23 urban local bodies. The state election commission had challenged the same in the high court, seeking early conduct of the civic polls. In March the court ordered the state government to again invite objections for the delimitation process and issue a fresh notification.

First Published: May 21, 2018 22:34 IST