MCD Mayor Elections: Nominated Members Do Not Have Right To Vote Including At Election Of Mayor- SC
The Supreme Court recently in an issue relating to the election of the Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) held that the nominated members do not have a right to vote, including at the election of the mayor.
The Court further held that the prohibition on nominated members of the corporation exercising the right to vote shall also apply to the first meeting and thereafter, the Deputy Mayor be elected.
The three-Judge Bench comprising CJI D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha, and Justice J.B. Pardiwala observed, “The Constitution and the Act place value on their experience but the right to vote is not granted to them at meetings of the Corporation. The meetings of the Corporation would include all meetings, including the first meeting which is held after the holding of the general election. … The prohibition on nominated members exercising the right to vote in terms of Section 3(3)(b)(i) shall, therefore, also apply to the first meeting of the Corporation at which the Mayor and, thereafter, the Deputy Mayor are to be elected.”
The Bench noted that the election of the Mayor must be held first and the elected Mayor is then required to preside over the election of the Deputy Mayor as the presiding authority.
“… the election of the Mayor shall be conducted first in the first meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Once the Mayor is elected, the elected Mayor shall be the presiding authority for the purpose of the election of the Deputy Mayor”, said the Court.
Senior Advocate A.M. Singhvi and Advocate Shadan Farasat appeared on behalf of the petitioners while ASG Sanjay Kumar Jain, SG Tushar Mehta, Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, and Senior Advocate Garima Prashad represented the respondents.
In this case, the petitioners sought diverse reliefs pertaining to the constitution of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi following the elections which took place on December 4, 2022. Such elections were held to elect 250 Councillors and the petitioner was a prospective candidate for the post of Mayor. Though over two months elapsed since the date of the election, the election of the Mayor was not held yet.
The first issue before the Apex Court was whether the nominated members had the right to vote at the first meeting of the Corporation where the Mayor would be elected. And, the second issue pertained to the order for holding elections, more specifically, whether the election to the office of the Mayor shall be held first followed by the elections to the Deputy Mayor and other members of the Standing Committee, on which meetings the Mayor would preside.
The Supreme Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel said, “Article 243R of the Constitution is embodied in Part IXA of the Constitution which deals with Municipalities. … We are unable to accept the submission which has been urged on behalf of the Municipal Corporation and the Lt Governor and by counsel supporting them.”
The Court also noted that the source of the statutory provision is contained in Article 243R of the Constitution itself, Part IXA of the Constitution was introduced by the Constitution (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Act 1992, and that Article 243R provides for the composition of Municipalities.
The Court after relying upon the decision in the case of Ramesh Mehta v Sanwal Chand Singh (2004) 5 SCC 409 directed, “At the first meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the election shall be held first for the post of Mayor and at that election, the members who are nominated in terms of Section 3(3)(b)(i) of the Act shall not have the right to vote. … Upon the election of the Mayor, the Mayor shall act as the presiding authority for conducting the election of the Deputy Mayor and the members of the Standing Committee at which also the prohibition on the exercise of vote by the nominated members in terms of Section 3(3)(b)(i) shall continue to operate.”
The Court further directed that the notice convening the first meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi shall be issued within a period of twenty-four hours and that the notice shall fix the date for convening the first meeting at which the election of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and members of the Standing Committee shall be conducted in terms of the aforesaid directions.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the petition.
Cause Title- Shelly Oberoi & Anr. v. Office of Lieutenant Governor of Delhi & Ors.