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Supreme Court Disposes Plea Against ST Reservation Of Two UP Assembly Seats

Shruti Kakkar
7 Feb 2022 3:31 PM GMT
Supreme Court Disposes Plea Against ST Reservation Of Two UP Assembly Seats
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In a petition challenging the Election Commission's decision to declare two Assembly seats in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh as reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the Supreme Court on Monday while disposing the writ granted the petitioner liberty to revive the same if cause of action continues in the next election.The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar was considering...

In a petition challenging the Election Commission's decision to declare two Assembly seats in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh as reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the Supreme Court on Monday while disposing the writ granted the petitioner liberty to revive the same if cause of action continues in the next election.

The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar was considering a miscellaneous application seeking recall of the order dated December 17, 2021 by which the writ was dismissed for non prosecution.

Taking note of the fact that 2 elections have been conducted pursuant to the press note dated January 13, 2014 r/w January 4, 2017, the bench in its order said,

"This application is for recall of order dated December 17, 2021 dismissing the writ petition for non prosecution. For the reasons mentioned in the application, writ petition stands restored. After hearing the Ld AG we deem it appropriate to dispose this writ petition with liberty to the petitioner to revive the same in the event the next election notified for the state or parliamentary election, the same arrangement for dispensation is continued in terms of notice dated January 13, 2014 r/w corrigendum dated January 4, 2017. In other words we're not disposing of this plea on merits but since 2 assembly elections have been conducted, therefore we give liberty to the petitioner to revive the same if the cause of action continues in the next election."

In 2017, the bench of Justices J Chelameswar and AM Sapre had issued notice in the petition filed by Pankaj Kumar Mishra wherein it was alleged that the decision was illegal as it lacked the order of the President mandated under Articles 82 and 170 of the Constitution.

When the matter was called for hearing, Senior Advocate R Venkataramani for the petitioner while requesting the bench to allow the application for restoration submitted that the Election Commission had tried to reserve two constituencies in UP which could be done under the Delimitation Act, 2002.

Contending that elections could not take place like this, the Senior Counsel submitted that, "Election Commission under last ordinance tries to do a task of reserving constituencies in UP which can be done under the Delimitation Act.  Matter was argued and the court said that the matter must be heard. There are important questions. Elections cannot take place like this."

Appearing for the Union, Attorney General for India KK Venugopal submitted that the petitioner had delayed in filing the application.

"According to me, he delayed filing it. In 2017 elections took place & next election will take place in 3 days and 2024 elections will take place after that. Let him consider if delimitation takes place after that and this will give him a fresh cause of action," submitted AG.

"You're too optimistic. What can it be done now? Since 2017 this petition is pending. What can be done now? If attention of the court is drawn to the fact that it is urgent, intervention is always sought. For the first time it was listed on March 11, 2019- for 2 years- nothing happened. After 2019, the next listing is 2021. Listing coincides with declaration of election & it only takes place then," remarked Justice AM Khanwilkar the presiding judge of the bench on Senior Counsel's submission to revive the petition.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan for the intervenor at this juncture submitted that, "This matter has become infructuous because this was a challenge to the delimitation of 2017. 2022 elections are about to take place. Next elections will be after 5 years and if he has a fresh cause of action during that time."

Responding to the remarks made by the bench, Senior Counsel to beseech the bench for hearing the matter after elections said, "The ordinance ignores constitutional provision and mandates. Kindly hear the matter certainly not before elections but after elections. Problems can come in any circumstances. We're all voters & suddenly you convert a constituency into an ST constituency. It involves questions of law. At any point of time, kindly hear me."

Unimpressed by the submissions made by Senior Counsel the bench while focusing on the fact that 2 elections have been conducted pursuant to the impugned ordinance and disposing the writ granted petitioners the liberty to revive the same if the cause of action continue in the next election.

Case Title: Pankaj Kumar Mishra and Others v. Union of India and Ors| MA 210/2022 in W.P.(C) No. 56/2017

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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