UP local bodies’ election will go ahead: Supreme Court (Lead)

June 11th, 2012 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) In a breather for the less than three-month-old Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court Monday declined to stall the election of chairpersons of the state’s local bodies that is to take place in four phases from June 24 — though with a rider.

A bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice J.S. Khehar, however, said the election results would depend on the outcome of a petition challenging the 66 percent reservation of the chairpersons’ positions for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, other backward classes and women on a rotational basis.

The court directed that the matter be listed for final hearing in the second week of August.

Counsel for the Uttar Pradesh government told the court that the election of the heads of the local bodies would be treated as first after the amendment of the statute and could not be treated as a continuation of earlier elections that were held in 2001 and 2006 after the promulgation of an ordinance.

Counsel told the court that the reservation scheme that was provided for under the ordinance was completely reversed at the time of incorporating the amendment to the law.

However, appearing for petitioner Rakesh Gautam, senior counsel Nagendra Rai told the court that the ordinance and the subsequent amendment to the act affected in pursuance of it (the ordinance) could not be seen differently for the purposes of disturbing the reservation of the heads of the local bodies under the rotational system.

He said the reservation for the chairmen’s post that was notified by the previous Mayawati government was changed by the new government headed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Gautam has contended that keeping the chairman’s post in the reserved category for successive elections contravened the local bodies’ statute and should be set aside.

He challenged a June 1 Allahabad High Court verdict holding that though the May 23 notification on the reservations was flawed, the polls would not be stayed as they had been set into motion by a May 25 notification of the state Election Commission.

Gautam, who hails from Aligarh, contended that office of the chairperson, Khair Nagar Palika in the district was reserved for women in 2001 and in 2006, it came to be reserved for scheduled caste women.

Then by a Jan 15, 2012 notification of the state government, it was set for the general category. However, after change of government in Uttar Pradesh, it was once again reserved for scheduled caste candidates, he said in his petition.

The four-phased polls will see the election of more than 700 chairpersons of local bodies, of which 66 percent are reserved for the four categories.

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