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Supreme Court clears decks for UP Local Body polls, notification to be issued in next 2 days

The Supreme Court on Monday cleared decks for the Local Body elections in Uttar Pradesh with reservation for the Other Backward Caste (OBC) by giving its nod for issuing of election notification.

Appearing for the state government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta apprised the Apex Court that the Commission, which was constituted in December 2022 to prepare a report on the subject, had submitted the same. 

Though the tenure of the Commission was six months and it was to complete its task by March 31, it submitted the report on March 9, noted the SG. He said the notification for local body elections was in motion and would be issued in the next two days, after the Apex Court grants permission.

The top court of the country then disposed of the matter after granting permission for issuing election notification. The Bench observed that directions in this order were not to be used as precedence in other cases. 

Earlier on March 15, the SG had apprised the Apex Court that a dedicated commission had prepared a report on the subject.

Additional Advocate General Sharan Dev Singh Thakur also appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier on January 4, the Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha had partially stayed the Allahabad High Court order that directed the Uttar Pradesh government to hold the pending Urban Local Body elections without any reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The top court of the country had said that the stay was limited to the High Court stating that polls should be held by January 31

It observed that holding elections without OBC reservation was not right, adding that even a constitutional vacuum in terms of vacant seats cannot be allowed.

The Apex Court said that pending further orders, such direction shall remain stayed. It added that to ensure administration of local bodies was not hampered, the government would remain at liberty to delegate responsibilities and financial powers.

On December 27, the High Court Bench of Justice Saurabh Lavania and Justice D.K. Uphadhyaya had directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to conduct elections on an immediate basis without OBC reservation, since the concerned State notification failed to fulfil the triple test formula laid down by the Supreme Court.

Later in January, 2023, the Apex Court had refused to interfere with its January 4 order over the  conduct of Local Bodies elections in Uttar Pradesh. 

It, however, gave the All India Council of Mayors four weeks time to file an intervention application in the original petition regarding their demand to extend the tenure of the present Mayor till the civic body elections were held and the triple test process was not completed in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The petitioner requested the Apex Court that the tenure of the present Mayor should be extended till the civic body elections ware held and the triple test process was not completed in UP.

The All India Council of Mayors had moved the Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict, which had ordered immediate civic body elections without OBC reservation.

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