SC to examine quota row in UP municipal bodies

SC decided to examine a plea against UP govt`s notification reserving posts of chairperson for SCs, STs and OBCs in some of municipal bodies.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to examine a plea against the Uttar Pradesh government`s May 25 notification reserving the posts of chairperson for people of scheduled castes, tribes and backward classes and the women in some of the state`s municipal bodies.

A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar said it would consider the matter on Wednesday after counsel DK Garg, appearing for one Rakesh Gautam of Aligarh, sought an early hearing of the plea saying the nomination process for the civic body polls, to be held shortly, have begun.

Gautam, a general category candidate for the post of Khair Nagar Palika chairperson in Aligarh submitted that the poll process was vitiated as the posts were being reserved indiscriminately without any rationale and in a manner, discriminatory to the general category candidates.

In all, there are 630 local bodies comprising of 13 municipal corporations, 194 `nagar palika parishads` and 423 `nagar panchayats` in the state.

The petitioner submitted that reservation of the posts of chairpersons can be done only by rotation. In other words, if a post is reserved for a particular term, then in the subsequent term, it has to be de-reserved, allowing a general category candidate to contest for it.

The UP government, however, in purported exercise of its powers under Section 9 A of the UP Municipalities Act, 1916 has reserved 28 seats in favour of different castes despite the fact that the posts had been reserved in 2001 and 2006 elections, Garg alleged.

Elections to the Nagarpalikas are to be held from June 12 and would conclude by July 10, he said.

Giving an illustration, the petitioner said in 2001, the
office of chairperson, Nagar Palika, Khair was reserved for general women. In 2006, it was reserved for Schedule Caste women, he added.

On January 15, 2012, the then Mayawati Government notified the Nagar Palika chairperson post for general candidate.

However, after the Akhilesh Singh Yadav Government assumed power on April 25, the state issued a fresh notification reserving the seat for SC candidates.

According to the petitioner, though the Allahabad High Court had held that the notifications reserving the posts were illegal, yet, it directed the petitioner and other aggrieved candidates to approach the respective district judges by way of election petitions.

The petitioner urged the apex court to stay the impugned notification issued by the state government.