The Supreme Court today issued notice in the fresh plea filed by AAP leader Shelly Oberoi challenging the non-adherence of the timeline in the Mayor’s election of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

Issue Notice returnable on Monday (February 13) ” ordered a Bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala who heard the plea.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party and its leader Shelly Oberoi, said that there exists a “shocking state of affairs” in MCD and “the urgency is extreme”. He apprised the Court that in terms of Article 243R of the Constitution, nominated members are not allowed to vote, yet they were allowed to vote to prevent ruckus.

Further, he submitted that presently, the meeting of the Corporation is presided over by pro tem and the pro tem presiding officer is herself illegal as she is not the senior most. The Senior Advocate contended that holding elections of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Members of the Standing Committee together runs contrary to the scheme of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957.

The Court issued Notice after recording the following threefold submissions:

1. Though elections were conducted on December 4, 2022, the situation at present is that no election has been conducted thereafter for mayor, deputy mayor and members of the standing committee.

2. Article 243R says that nominated members shall not have a right to vote.

3. In terms of Section 76 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, the Mayor or in his absence, the Deputy Mayor, has to preside at every meeting of the Corporation. Simultaneous holding of elections for three posts ( Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Members of the Standing Committee) is contrary to the provisions of the statute.

Yesterday, on being mentioned by Senior Advocate Abhsihek Manu Singhvi, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the matter today. On February 6th elections were postponed for a third time in the MCD, which he termed as “a murder of democracy”.

Earlier, on January 27, the Supreme Court directed urgent listing of the AAP mayoral candidate’s previous plea. On February 3, the Court allowed withdrawal of the said plea recording that “since the election to the post of Mayor in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi is to take place on 6 February 2023, the purpose of the Writ Petition is fulfilled to that extent”.

The Writ Petition is permitted to be withdrawn at this stage leaving it open to the petitioners to pursue such remedies as may thereafter be available in law to them, if aggrieved”, read the Order of the Court on her previous plea.

In her plea, Shelly has sought directions to ensure that the election of the Mayor is conducted in a time-bound manner, and to ensure that the nominated members are not allowed to vote.

Though poll results were declared nearly two months ago, the election to the post of Mayor has not yet been completed. In the civic body’s election, AAP had secured 134 of the 250 wards in the MCD, while the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) was limited to 104 wards.

The position of mayor wielded a lot of influence and carried huge prestige till 2012 when the corporation was split into three separate civic bodies — North, South, and East municipal corporations, with each having its own mayor. However, last year, they were reunified and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) again came into existence.

The post of mayor in the national capital sees five single-year terms on a rotation basis, with the first year being reserved for women, the second for the open category, the third for the reserved category, and the remaining two again for the open category. Delhi will thus get a woman mayor this year.

Cause Title- Shelly Oberoi & Anr. v. Office of Lieutenant Governor of Delhi & Ors.