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Rajasthan HC seeks govt’s reply on plea concerning reservation in civic bodies

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Acting on a petition challenging the procedure adopted by the Rajasthan government for reserving seats of chairman/mayor in 193 civic bodies, the Rajasthan High Court on Thursday sought a reply from the state government and state election commission.

A division bench of the court issued notice to the chief secretary, principal secretary (local self-government), and state election commission. The court directed Advocate General MS Singhvi to seek instructions and file reply in the matter by next Thursday when the matter will be heard again.

The petition was filed by one Yogendra Kumar and Kamal Rathore ex-Chairman Baran municipality, through their advocate Dr Abhinav Sharma.

Outcome of petition might impact proposed civic polls

The petitioner has contended that in the last 40 years, the said reservation has been provided only in few selected areas of the state. The reservation was provided only in such areas where the population of the SC and ST was higher. But the clause of reservation in other areas was not applied, the petitioner added.

The petition will impact the proposed elections in the six municipal corporations of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota. The election process in these civic bodies will have to be completed before October 31. It has become mandatory on the part of the government because of an earlier court order in this regard.

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But, any ruling in favour of the petition would mean changing the entire election process of the six municipalities. This would mean the reservation of the wards as per the new rules.

Wrong procedure adopted by Rajasthan govt

The petitioner alleged that due to the wrong procedure adopted by the Rajasthan government, around 67 seats of the civic bodies have been reserved in perpetuity for SC and ST only.

The petition challenged the constitutional validity of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act and Election Rules. It has been alleged that SC and ST of all the 193 Municipalities must get equal opportunity of reservation.

The rules provide for rotation of reservation in the descending order of SC/ST population. However, no such reservation has been provided in the state.

It has been stated that as per Article 243T of the Constitution, the reservation of SC and ST has to reach to each municipality with the post of mayor/chairman reserved at least once.

Rajasthan did frame a procedure in November 1999, but failed to implement the same. This has resulted in reservation in only a few seats and areas depriving the other constituencies of the benefit for the downtrodden section of society belonging to SC and ST.

 

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