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Kerala HC Dismisses Pleas Challenging Successive Reserving Of Same Constituencies For Third Time For Local Body Elections 2020 [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
12 Nov 2020 6:30 AM GMT
Kerala HC Dismisses Pleas Challenging Successive Reserving Of Same Constituencies For Third Time For Local Body Elections 2020 [Read Judgment]
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The Kerala High Court has dismissed a batch of writ petitions challenging allocation of reserved seats to different wards/divisions of some of the local bodies in the State for the ensuing election.The petitioners contention was that the wards/divisions were successively reserved for one or other categories in the elections held during 2010 and 2015 and that the said wards/divisions are...

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The Kerala High Court has dismissed a batch of writ petitions challenging allocation of reserved seats to different wards/divisions of some of the local bodies in the State for the ensuing election.

The petitioners contention was that the wards/divisions were successively reserved for one or other categories in the elections held during 2010 and 2015 and that the said wards/divisions are reserved again for the third time in the ensuing election. 

The petitioners banked upon a recent judgment of the High Court in which it had held that reserving a seat successively beyond two occasions, when reserved seats could be distributed in a manner that no seat would go reserved more than twice successively, is against the scheme of Articles 243D and 243T of the Constitution and also the relevant provisions contained in the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 and the Kerala Municipality Act, 1994.

Justice PB Suresh Kumar noted that, in the said judgment, it was held that, to treat seats reserved for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes at par with general seats for the purpose of reserving the same again for women, is against the doctrine of equality and also that reserving a seat successively more than twice when reserved seats could be allocated otherwise, is against the scheme of the relevant provisions of the Constitution. In this regard, the judge observed:

In a case of this nature, it was expected would have been prudent for the Election Commission to give effect to the judgment, wherever allocations were made otherwise than in accordance with the judgment. Instead, it is seen that even when similar writ petitions were pending before this court, the Election Commission chose to announce the election which is already delayed, and started opposing similar writ petitions on technical grounds. I am not examining the question as to whether the Election Commission is justified in adopting the said stand, as it is unnecessary for the purpose of deciding these matters, but I am constrained to make this observation as it is found that it was not impossible for the Election Commission to rectify the flawed procedure adopted by them as pointed out in the judgment as demonstrated by the Election Commission in the matter of complying with the directions in the disposed of cases.


The court, referring to Election Commission of India v. Ashok Kumar (2000)8 SCC 216, observed that in the matters relating to election, it can interfere only if it subserves the progress of the election and facilitates the completion of the election. While dismissing the petitions, the bench observed:

True, the election process has not formally commenced inasmuch as the notification is yet to be published. But in so far as the election has already been announced and since it is found that this Court may not be in a position to complete the adjudication in these matters before the date for filing of the nominations, having regard to the spirit of the judgments of the Apex Court aforesaid, I am of the view that I should refrain from exercising my jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution in these matters. I take this view also for the reason that the term of the local bodies in the State is due to expire on 11.11.2020 and the mandate of Articles 243E and 243U of the Constitution is that the election to constitute new local bodies is to be conducted before the expiry of the term of the earlier local bodies.


Case: Biju Jacob vs. State Election Commission [ WPC 23297 of 2020]
Coram: Justice PB Suresh Kumar

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