HC dismiss petitions challenging panchayat election reservation & delimitation process

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source internet

Shimla,  Jan 6

Himachal Pradesh High Court dismissed a bunch of four petitions challenging Panchayat Election reservation and delimitation process in a 42 page order passed here today.
Division bench of High court comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed this order while disposing the petitions filed before the court just after the process of election roasters and delimitation process.
The court said that a bunch of writ petitions questioning the preparation, implementation and rotation of election reservation roster in Gram Panchayats for purposes of ensuring 2020-21 elections was filed just before the announcement of PRI polls.

The Common contention of the petitioners was that the election reservation roster prepared by the State for 2020-2021 elections was inherently faulty and reservation of previous election years has been repeated for some of the Gram Panchayats which had already remained reserved.
” The only remedy provided and allowed by the Constitution was of an Election Petition before the CompetentAuthority.  In the lead case, the final reservation roster in different Blocks of District Shimla was issued on 14.12.2020. ” court said.
The Election Programme for conduct of general elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions in the State has been notified on Dec 21, 2020. The election process is already underway. 
The writ petitions, therefore, could not be considered as maintainable, at this stage. Considering the above exposition of law, these writ petitions and the grievance(s) raised by the petitioners cannot be looked into at this stage when the elections for various Panchayats are already underway .
While challenging the election roster the petitioners alleged that scheduled elections ….denying equal opportunity of representation to members of other categories. 
The court dismissing all the petitions stated that the state should have published the election reservation roster before the announcement of election so that such petitioners who want to challenge the process could seek remedy in time.
Court said that before applying for the Election Reservation Roster, proper care should be taken so that the reservation roster gets rotated to the maximum extent possible.
Giving remedy to the petitioner in cases of reorganization, bifurcation, separation, creation of gram Panchayats, Blocks etc. court said that reservation of offices … should be allocated afresh based upon the ‘changed’ population structure in accordance with relevant provisions of applicable Statute and the Rules. 

” Grievances of the petitioners with respect to application and rotation of election reservation roster over changed territories of Gram Panchayats or Blocks, however genuine these might be, could not be examined at this stage when the election process is already ” order said.

Rejecting to interfere in the present Panchayati Raj Institutions election at this stage state court held that the State has already been pronounced election and these petitions dismissed reserving liberty to the petitioners to avail appropriate remedy in accordance with law.
Court also noted that before parting the judgment it had taken note of methodology adopted by the State in preparing, implementing and rotating the election reservation roster for fixation of offices or Gram Panchayats in elections to the PRIs in the State. 
The Court held that allotment of seats for the post of Pradhans in Zila Panchayat would fall within the ambit and scope of Clause (a) of Article 243 of Constitution of India, therefore, writ jurisdiction of the High Court cannot be invoked. 
Earlier hearing this case on Dec 29, 2020 the high court had reserved the judgment on the case which was pronounced by the division bench on Wednesday.  
State Election Commission decided to not notify the election process of Pardahan in the entire Shimla district and Samiti in Dharampur block of Mandi district.

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