Shimla, July 12
Earlier last month in the first week of June, the Court had found that Impugned orders passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, and Appellate Authority i.e. Divisional Commissioner, Shimla, qua delimitation of Ward No.11- Nabha (new Ward No.12-Nabha) and Ward No.5- Summerhill (New Ward No. 6-Summerhill), are liable to be set aside and the petitions were allowed.
Thereafter the matter was remanded back to the Deputy Commissioner with directions to decide the objections raised by the petitioners afresh, in accordance with law, after appreciating the material available on record.
A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sabina and Justice Satyen Vaidya, had passed these orders on two separate petitions filed by Simi Nanda Congress Councillor from Nabha Ward and Rajeev Thakur of Summerhill.
The petitioners had filed these petitions aggrieved by the order dated 24th February, 2022, passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, and orders dated 8th March, 2022, passed by the Divisional Commissioner, Shimla, rejecting the objections filed against delimitation of Ward No.11- Nabha (new Ward No.12-Nabha) and Ward No.5- Summerhill (New Ward No. 6-Summerhill).
The petitioner Simi Nanda had submitted that Lower Phagli 1 and Lower Phagli 2 of Nabha Ward, were proposed to be merged in Phagli Ward in violation of the principles of equal distribution of area population wise. Instead of considering the objections raised by petitioner Divisional Commissioner Shimla, proposed delimitation of Nabha Ward by amalgamating the Lower Phagli area.
On the other hand in the matter pertaining to delimitation of Summerhill, the petitioner Rajeev Thakur submitted that the process of delimitation carried out by the respondents has failed to achieve the object of the amendment as the population of different wards has not been brought at par. While creating Ward No.5 Summerhill area and Ward No.6 Boileauganj area, the respondents has failed to include the area of Boileauganj Bazar in the Boileauganj Ward to create continuity.
The court had observed that the total population of Nabha Ward was 4387 as per census of 2011, whereas, Tutikandi and Phagli Wards had total population of 5639 and 4518, respectively. Thus, there was no occasion to reduce the population of Nabha Ward, which was already having the least population out of all the three wards
The Court then, had, observed that census of 2011, reveals that the population of Summerhill Ward was 5391 and of Boileaugnaj Ward it was 3955. Thus, the population of Boileauganj Ward is much less than the Summerhill Ward and at the time of delimitation, an effort could have been made to bring the population of both the wards at par, as far as possible.
While sending the matter back for hearing to the Deputy Commissioner the Court found the DC has failed to consider the factual aspect of the submissions raised by the petitioners. The Deputy Commissioner was required to take into consideration the fact that equal population as far as practicable in each ward be maintained and each ward was also required to maintain geographical compactness and contiguous in areas and recognizable boundaries. He was more influenced by the fact that no ECI polling stations should transgress the boundaries, which however does not find mention in the Rules, had stated the court. The Appellate Authority i.e. Divisional Commissioner, Shimla, while dismissing the appeals filed by the petitioners, has also failed to consider this aspect of the matter, had observed the double bench of the HP high court.
It is worthwhile to mention here that state election commissioner also ordered the electoral officer to complete the process of addition and deletion of electoral roll with in a month.