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MCD Mayor elections: Supreme Court issues notice to LG, Pro Tem Speaker, Delhi government

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response from the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, Pro Tem Speaker Satya Sharma, Delhi government and MCD Commissioner Gyanesh Bharti on a petition seeking urgent completion of MCD Mayoral elections.

The plea was jointly filed by AAP mayoral candidate Shelly Oberoi and the party itself, challenging the decision of Delhi LG Saxena permitting members nominated by him to vote in the Municipal Corporation elections for the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the matter before the Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala, which issued notice to Delhi government, MCD Commisioner and others, returnable by February 13.

Appearing for the petitioner, Singhvi contended that although the MCD Mayor elections were scheduled to be held on December 4 last year, the same could not be done. The situation at present was such that no election could be conducted for the posts of Mayor, Deputy Mayor and members of the standing committee.
As per Article 243R of the Constitution, nominated members could not be allowed to vote. Thus, the decision of the LG permitting nominated members to vote in MCD polls was unconstitutional, noted the Counsel.

He said holding of elections for three posts (mayor, deputy mayor and Standing Committee members) was contrary to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 on the grounds that Section 76 of the Act stated that the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor had to preside over all meetings of MCD. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Singhvi had mentioned the matter before a CJI-led Bench, stating that a temporary Pro Tem person enabling his nominated members to vote during the municipal polls was a ‘brazen’ act and murder of democracy.

The two petitions filed by Oberoi and AAP sought removal of Satya Sharma as Pro Tem Presiding Officer and summoning of the MCD House within a week.

The pleas further sought directions to the effect that till the completion of Mayoral elections, the MCD House would not be adjourned.

The petitioners demanded that elections to the posts of Deputy Mayor and Standing committee members should be held out under the presiding role of the elected Mayor.

The petitions requested the Apex court to issue directions that nominated members would not be entitled to exercise their franchise in Mayoral elections.

Earlier in January this year, the Bench of CJI Chandrachud and Justice Dipankar Datta had agreed to hear the petition seeking time-bound elections to the post of Delhi Mayor.

The petition, filed by Oberoi and Leader of the House in MCD, Mukesh Goyal, alleged that the BJP-led Central government was not keen to conduct the elections.

The MCD Mayor polls have been adjourned thrice in the past two months.

Yesterday, the Mayoral elections were postponed after a ruckus erupted over the nominated members being allowed to vote in the election to the post.

On January 24, elections to the post of Delhi Mayor were postponed due to a ruckus between Councillors of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Presiding Officer Satya Sharma, appointed by Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, had adjourned the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) House sine die on Tuesday, stating that the proceedings could not be conducted amid sloganeering from both AAP and BJP Councillors.

On January 6 also, the Mayoral elections were postponed following clashes between AAP and BJP councillors.

AAP National Spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj had alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) indulged in hooliganism to halt the MCD proceedings.

The plea by AAP further sought directions from the Apex Court not to allow the 10 nominated Councillors to vote, stating that Aldermen did not have the right to exercise their franchise under Article 243R of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957.

(Case title: Shelly Oberoi and Anr vs Office of Lieutenant Governor of Delhi And Ors)

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