The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Allahabad High Court’s order directing the Uttar Pradesh government to hold local urban bodies elections in the State by the January end without granting reservation to OBCs.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha directed that a panel appointed by the State of Uttar Pradesh will have to decide the OBC quota-related issues for the local bodies poll by March 31, 2023.
The apex court granted the time till March 31 for State Backward Commission to file a report on the political backwardness of OBCs for giving quotas in local bodies.
It permitted the State government to appoint administrators to run the affairs of the local bodies after the expiry of the tenure of the elected representatives. It said the administrators will not be empowered to take major policy decisions.
“To ensure that administration of local bodies is not hampered, the government will be at liberty to issue delegation and financial powers. This is subject to the caveat that no major policy decision shall be taken by the administrator,” the top court said in its order.
The order of the apex court came while taking into the note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State government.
The SG told the bench that though the tenure of the newly appointed Commission is six months an effort will be made that exercise use shall be complete expeditiously on or before March 31.
The Lucknow bench of the High Court had ordered that the State government should notify the polls “immediately” as the term of several municipalities would end by January 31.
It had said the term of the municipal bodies in the state has either ended or shall end by January 31, 2023.
The top court while hearing the appeal filed by the Uttar Pradesh government against the High Court order also issued notice to the petitioners who had filed PILs in the High Court and on whose the order was passed.
The Uttar Pradesh government has approached the apex court challenging the Allahabad High Court order directing the State poll panel to hold urban local body elections without reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
It has challenged the December 27 order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court where it quashed a government’s order of December 5 proposing reservations for OBCs in civic elections.
The High Court had ordered the State Election Commission to “immediately” notify elections to the urban local bodies without OBC quotas.
It had said that until the “triple test” as mandated by the Supreme Court is completed in all respects by the State government, no reservation for the Backward Class of citizens shall be provided in the urban local body polls.
The High Court had asked the State government to set up a Commission to conduct an empirical study on the nature and backwardness to be able to have OBC quotas in the next election to urban local bodies but stressed that it could not pause the election process till this humongous and time taking task was completed.
After the order, Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in a statement, said his government would constitute a survey Commission to ensure that the benefits of the reservation are provided to the OBCs on the basis of the “triple test”.
The government later constituted a five-member committee to carry out a survey to ensure adequate reservation for OBCs in the State urban local body polls by fulfilling the “triple test” formality as mandated by the Supreme Court.
The High Court had directed to include reservations for women as per the constitution.
The order of the High Court came on a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) alleging that the entire exercise of reservation of seats in the municipalities is being carried out by the State government in “complete derogation and defiance” of the mandate of the Supreme Court.
On December 5, the Urban Development Department of the Uttar Pradesh government announced reservations for the seats of the Mayor in municipal corporations and Chairpersons of Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats.
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.