Urban body elections: Legal issue is a big hurdle

23-06-2021

  • Disposal by Supreme Court or re-rotation reservation is the only option

Khilawan Chandrakar, Bhopal 
After the second wave of Corona has passed, now a flurry has started in the state regarding the urban body elections. Both Congress and BJP have started making their strategy in view of this election. People willing to contest for the post of mayor, president and councilor have already become active.
Elections in 344 urban bodies in Madhya Pradesh have been postponed for almost one and a half years. These urban bodies also include 16 municipal corporations. The term of all Municipal Corporations, Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats had ended on December 2019 and January 2020. Since then, in place of public representatives, administrative officers have been appointed as administrators of the concerned body and the work of municipal body has been entrusted to them. 
Meanwhile, the tenure of the remaining 51 urban bodies is also going to end by December this year. The government also understands that due to the pressure of the public representatives, this election cannot be put off for a long time. Till now it was being postponed citing the Corona transition period. But the basic point is that the whole matter has been entangled in the whirlpool of legal entanglements. There is an adjournment on the municipal elections by Gwalior High Court regarding the reservation of the post of mayor and president. In place of fresh reservation, the government has also approached the Supreme Court to challenge the order of the High Court. But from there no relief seems to be coming at the moment.
When the urban body elections will be declared in AC condition, there is still doubt in this. In fact, regarding these elections, advocate Manvardhan Singh Tomar in Gwalior had filed public interest litigation in the Gwalior Bench of the High Court, in which it was said that the State Government issued a notification for Municipal Corporation, Municipality and Nagar Panchayats on 10 and 11 December 2020. The rotation has not been followed in the reservation notification. Giving an example, the petitioner said that the government has reserved two municipal corporations and 79 municipalities and nagar panchayats for scheduled castes, but the post of Mayor of Morena and Ujjain Municipal Corporation was reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in 2014 and it has been kept reserved for the same seats this time as well. The same has been done in other municipalities and nagar panchayats. Due to which people of other classes will not be able to contest elections on these posts. It should be changed.
After hearing this petition in detail, the judge had stayed the election process of urban body elections and asked the government to do the entire process of reservation again. The state government has challenged this decision of the High Court in the Supreme Court, where its hearing is still going on. Due to not being an urgent matter, the Supreme Court has kept the hearing pending in view of the Corona period.
Now till this appeal is not resolved or the state government is not ready to do the rotation again, for the time being there will remain doubts about the elections. Meanwhile, even if there is a situation of more infection in the third wave of Corona, even then this election can be postponed. Municipal elections are necessary to maintain the democratic system in local governance in Madhya Pradesh. The city government being in the hands of the administrative officials for a long time not only affects the development work but also does not work effectively in the direction of keeping out the essential civic amenities and improving them.