Friday, 31 August 2018 | PNS | Dehradun–
The string of court cases related to delimitation of Urban Local Bodies has landed the state administration in an unenviable position. On Wednesday, the Uttarakhand High Court (HC) cancelled the notification of the state government to include villages located on the periphery of Dehradun into the jurisdictional limit of the municipal corporation. The order acted as a spoiler of the state administration preparations for the elections of the ULBs. After completing the ardours exercise of delimitation, the administration had released the interim notification for reservation of wards in different ULBs. The task of preparing voter lists for the elections was also complete.
Interestingly in June this year, a double bench of Uttarakhand HC had accepted the delimitation process in 16 ULBs of the state. In such a scenario, the new HC order on Wednesday has caught the administration, gearing up for the elections, off guard.
Notably, more than 80 cases relating to delimitation, reservation and appointment of administrators in the ULBs have been filed in Uttarakhand HC. Out of them 34 cases are related to delimitation exercise and 12, to the reservation.
When contacted by The Pioneer, the cabinet minister for urban development and housing Madan Kaushik said that a double bench of HC had given order in favour of the government. “The legal opinion on the HC order is being sought and after the opinion is received the future course of action would be decided,” the minister said.
In Uttarakhand, there 92 ULBs out of which eight are municipal corporations, 41 are municipal councils and 43 are Nagar Panchayats. Notably, in three ULBs of Kedarnath, Gangotri and Badrinath, elections are not held. The HC has stayed the elections in Bhantrojkhan while in Roorkee, Bajpur and Selaqu, the elections would not be held as the issue is pending in the court. This means that the elections would be held in 85 ULBs in the state.
Due to the delay caused by litigations on the government decision to raise the limits of ULBs by delimitation exercise, the election process has remained stuck for months.
The terms of the municipal corporations, councils and Nagar Panchayats had ended on May 3. But in the absence of the election process, the state government was forced to appoint administrators to keep things running. As per the order of Supreme Court (SC) in Kishan Singh Tomar Vs Municipal Corporation of Ahmadabad case, the administrators cannot be appointed for more than a period of six months. In the present situation, the possibility of the ULB elections being held before the end of the six–month term of the administrators seems extremely bleak.
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