New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the state Election Commission to conduct by-elections in 13 municipal wards in the national capital within three months.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath gave the directions to the poll panel while hearing a PIL filed by 20-year-old law student Sanjana Gahlot after she saw the poor condition of her village in west Delhi and later came to know that there was no councillor to look after the civic issues.
The PIL sought to hold by-elections in 13 wards and to fill casual vacancies in the councillorship in all the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD).
The state poll panel told the court that it needed Rs.21 crore and manpower for holding the by-elections.
"The Delhi government shall make available the manpower sought by the state election commission as well as the required funds within four weeks from today for conducting the elections for filling up the casual vacancies in terms of the provisions of DMC Act," said the court.
"The state election commission shall take the necessary further steps and complete the by-elections to all the casual vacancies existing as on today in the three municipal corporations of Delhi within three months thereafter," it added.
A councillor is the most important elected representative in a ward. He/she addresses issues such as sanitation, cleanliness, development, the PIL stated.
The councillors of nine wards had resigned from their position in December 2013 after being elected as legislators in the Delhi assembly elections. Four more resigned after the February 2015 assembly polls. No by-elections have been held to fill these vacancies.
Seven wards in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, four in North DMC and two in the East DMC are currently without councillors.