In a matter that came up for hearing before the vacation bench of Justice KK Tated and Justice AK Menon on Thursday, a contention was raised by the petitioner that his nomination form for the Bhiwandi Nizampur Municipal Corporation elections was rejected by the Returning Officer, who retrospectively applied law.
Petitioner’s counsel SM Gorwadkar submitted that in an order dated May 8, his client’s nomination was rejected on the ground that he had earlier been disqualified from holding office in 2013 under Section 3(1)(b) of the Maharashtra Local Authority Members' Disqualification Act, 1986, and under the Maharashtra Act XXXVII of 2016, which came into effect on December 16, 2016, any councillor who has been disqualified under S.3(1)(b) shall be disqualified from being a councillor for a period of 6 years.
Gorwadkar argued that this amendment cannot take retrospective effect and prevent the petitioner from contesting the forthcoming election.
Considering that the allotment of symbols and final list of contesting candidates was to be published the next day, the court directed the petitioner to serve a copy of the order and fresh notice to the Election Commission.
The matter then came up for hearing on May 12 and MR Bohra, who appeared for the Election Commission, opposed the application on the ground that alternate remedy under Section 16 of the said Act is available and by virtue of Article 243 (zg) of the Constitution of India, the court ought not to interfere at this stage.
However, it allowed the petitioner to contest the elections subject to the result of this petition and observed:“We find that the issue requires consideration and it would be appropriate that rejection of the nomination form of the petitioner be kept in abeyance and the petitioner be permitted to contest the forthcoming elections, subject to result of the petition.”