Allahabad HC Directs State Election Commission To Notify Urban Local Body Election Without OBC Reservation
The Allahabad High Court has directed the State Election Commission to immediately notify the urban local body election without OBC reservation.
The bench of Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Saurabh Lavania quashed the draft notification issued by the State Government on urban local body poll and ordered to hold polls without OBC reservation.
The Court held that until the triple test/conditions as mandated by Supreme Court is completed in all respects by the State Government, no reservation for Backward Class of citizens shall be provided.
"…until the triple test/conditions as mandated by Hon'ble Supreme Court in K. Krishna Murthy (supra) and Vikas Kishanrao Gawali (supra) is completed in all respects by the State Government, no reservation for Backward Class of citizens shall be provided and since the term of Municipalities has either ended or shall be coming to an end by 31.01.2023 and the process of completion of triple test/conditions being arduous, is likely to take considerable time, it is directed that the State Government/State Election Commission shall notify the elections immediately.", the Court held.
The Court was dealing with a batch of pleas seeking quashing of notification issued by the State Government and directions to State Government to first complete the exercise of triple test and fulfill the triple conditions as mandated by Supreme Court and then hold the elections.
Advocates Sharad Pathak, Amrendra Singh, Piyush Pathak appeared for petitioners whereas Additional Advocate General V.K. Shahi, Chief Standing Counsel Abhinav N. Trivedi and Additional Chief Standing Counsel Amitabh Rai appeared for State. Advocates Rakesh Chaudhary and Anurag Kumar Singh appeared for State Election Commission.
The Court noted that "…we are of the opinion that the requirement of triple test/conditions as mandated by Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of K. Krishna Murthy(supra) and Vikas Kishanrao Gawali (supra) does not stand fulfilled and accordingly, as a consequence whereof any exercise conducted by the State for reserving the seats and offices of Chairpersons of Municipal Bodies in the State of U.P. including issuance of the impugned Notification dated 05.12.2022 is vitiated, not sustainable and hence is liable to be struck down."
The Court also noted that "It is not a case where the State has set up the dedicated Commission for conducting the empirical study into the nature and implications of backwardness for the purposes of providing reservation to Backward Class of citizens in the local self-government institutions and thereafter made necessary changes in the statutory prescriptions."
Consequently, the Court directed the State Government/State Election Commission to notify the elections immediately without OBC reservation.
The Court also held that while notifying the elections the seats and offices of Chairpersons, except those to be reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, shall be notified as for general/open category.
It further added that the notification to be issued for elections shall include the reservation for women.
Cause Title- Vaibhav Pandey v. State of U.P. with connected matters