Notify polls for local bodies: SC tells SEC of MP
Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) to issue a poll programme for local bodies within two weeks, saying more than 23,263 such bodies are functioning without elected representatives for the last over two years and this is bordering on a “break down of rule of law”.
New Delhi: Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) to issue a poll programme for local bodies within two weeks, saying more than 23,263 such bodies are functioning without elected representatives for the last over two years and this is bordering on a "break down of rule of law".
The apex court said the ongoing activity of delimitation or formation of the ward cannot be a legitimate ground to be set forth by any authority to not discharge its constitutional obligation in notifying the election programme at the opportune time and to ensure that the elected body is installed before the expiry of five years term of the outgoing body.
A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar noted that until the triple test formality is completed "in all respects" by the state government, no reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) can be provisioned. The bench, also comprising Justices AS Oka and CT Ravikumar, noted if the triple test exercise cannot be completed before the issue of the election programme by the SEC, the seats, except reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes which is a constitutional requirement, must be notified as for the general category.
"Therefore, we direct the SEC by way of an interim order, to issue an election programme without any further delay on the basis of the wards as per the delimitation done in the concerned local bodies when the elections had become due consequent to the expiry of five years term of the outgoing elected body or before coming into force of the impugned Amendment Act(s) whichever is later," it said.
The top court delivered its judgement on a plea that assailed the validity of some sections of the Madhya Pradesh Municipal Act, 1956, the Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Swaraj Adhiniyam, 1993, and the Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961. The bench dealt with the issue of non-conduct of elections in respect of a large number of local bodies in Madhya Pradesh and noted that the number in the state is "quite staggering". It said a chart handed over to the court by the counsel for the MP SEC indicated that there are about 321 urban local bodies where elections have not been held from 2019-to 2020 and the local bodies at the grassroots level (rural local bodies) where elections have not been held are around 23,073 as of now.