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Reserved for General women.  a  SC/ST woman also eligible for post of head of municipality : HC

Shimla, March 6

Himachal Pradesh Highcourt upheld the election of SC/ST woman for the post of president or Chairperson Municipal Council Dehra, District Kangra.

The 31 paged order while dismissing the petition passed by bench of Justice Vivek Singh Thakur stated that petitioner is eligible to contest the election of president or chairperson, even if it is reserved for Women ( general category).

The EP was moved before the court by a petitioner seeking to quashed the election of president stating that post was not reserved for the Scheduled Caste category as she was not eligible to contest and seek election. The petition was filed before the high court after the election was held on January 10, 2021 as petitioner assailed action of respondents – State  for allowing respondent No.5 to contest and thereafter elect her as President of  Municipal Council Dehra, District Kangra  against the seat reserved for Women (General), on the the ground that respondent Sunita Kumari, belongs to a Scheduled Caste category to contest and seek election as President/Chairperson, which was reserved for Women belonging to General Category.

Deciding the matter after hearing both the parties, the High court held that at the time of election of President or Chairperson of the Municipality, name of petitioner was not proposed by any of the elected Member of the Municipality and she was not a contesting candidate in the election and, therefore petitioner is not entitled to maintain the present petition. It is also settled that availability of alternative remedy is not an absolute bar to entertain a petition under article 226 of the Constitution.

Court said that a man or a woman may be eligible to contest election from more than one seat, in different capacity, as candidate belongs to reserved category could contest election for a seat meant for General Category as well as reserved category , and such person should also be entitled to contest the election of Member or office of President or Chairperson of the Municipality in either capacity.

There is no legal impediment or bar to a person, including a man and a woman, to exercise his or her right to contest either category. Therefore, a woman belonging to reserved category could contest election for the seat of Member available for General Category, which is open to all, including men and women, and she could also contest for seat reserved for women belonging to General Category. Similarly, a Member belonging to Scheduled Caste Category is not disentitled for contesting and competing for the office of President or Chairperson available for General Category or meant for Open Category, which is available to all, irrespective of their religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Court dismissing the petition held that respondent no.5 was eligible to contest and hold the post of President or  Chairperson of the Municipality reserved for ‘women’ belonging to General Category.  Reservation of seats for women is also in aforesaid terms, but excluding men.


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