The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave a green signal to 50 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in Madhya Pradesh local body elections.
A Bench headed by Justice A. M. Khanwilkar directed the MP Election Commission to notify the Apex Court about the local elections within two weeks.
The Bench directed all states and Union Territories to ensure that if elections to local bodies were pending after the five-year term was over, such elections must be held without waiting for the completion of delimitation and reservation exercise.
The order was passed on a petition challenging the provisions of Madhya Pradesh Municipal Act, 1956, the Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Swaraj Adhiniyam, 1993 and of the Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961, under which the state government had taken decision to introduce OBC reservation and modify the number and extent of wards to be constituted in the concerned local bodies.
Meanwhile, MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra thanked Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the Supreme Court for timely action taken on the matter.
Mishra said, “Our government has won. Our hard work paid off. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, we met legal experts and presented our point with facts before the Supreme Court.”
The Home Minister said they believe it wrong on part of the Congress to get a stop on OBC reservations in the elections.
”Truth always prevails and now, we are going to hold elections with OBC reservation,” he added.
Earlier on May 10, the Apex Court had passed an interim order, directing that the MP State Election Commission must notify the programme for elections to over 20,000 local bodies within two weeks as per existing wards, without putting it off for the completion of ‘triple test’ exercise to provide for OBC reservations and for carrying out the further delimitation procedure.
The Bench had ruled the constitutional mandate that new members must be elected to all bodies when the five-year tenure ends and that the incumbents cannot continue for more than six months beyond their tenure is inviolable; that the reality in MP where over 20,000 local bodies are functioning beyond tenure cannot be countenanced; that the process of further delimitation cannot be a legitimate ground to disrupt the principle of for the people, of the people, by the people.
On March 3, a Bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and also comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice C.T. Ravikumar, had rejected the demand made by the Maharashtra government to reserve 27 percent seats for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local bodies elections, and trashed an interim report by the state backward commission recommending reservation for OBCs over ‘lack of rationale’ and ‘absence of cotemporaneous data’.
The Apex Court restrained all authorities in the state from acting on the commission’s interim report, and directed the state election commission (SEC) to go ahead with elections to local bodies without the 27 percent quota for OBCs.
The court further directed that the backward commission shall continue its study on contemporaneous data, by local bodies, and submit its report with rationales that must stand the test of judicial scrutiny.