Delhi: HC seeks Centre, AAP Govt Stand on Plea Against Municipal Ward Delimitation
Image Courtesy: PTI
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the stand of the Centre and Delhi government on a plea against the recent delimitation of municipal wards in the city.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice to the two governments as well as the Delimitation Committee on the petition assailing the Centre's notification on October 17 notifying 250 wards within the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for being unconstitutional.
The petition by Anil Kumar, President of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, has sought directions for fresh delimitation of wards while claiming that the formula adopted by the authorities for the exercise was "wholly arbitrary, irrational, unintelligible, confusing and suffered from various legal infirmities".
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the petitioner, on Friday submitted that his plea was not against the holding of MCD elections but that the election should be held in a rational manner.
The senior lawyer argued that the notified delimitation does not reflect equal and proportionate representation as there is disparity in terms of population of wards.
He informed the court that the petitioner made representations to the authorities concerned to raise objections with respect to the delimitation exercise but the same were not acted upon.
"The very purpose of conducting delimitation is to ascertain an equal number of division of the electorates in the various wards and the same has been based on the population figures as obtained from most recent census. However, by promulgation of the impugned order, this very purpose behind delimitation has become redundant, as in the final draft order the notified 250 wards are not having equal number of electorates," the plea filed by lawyers Gaurav Dua, Vikas Yadav and Sajid Chaudhary has submitted.
"Total population of Delhi as per 2011 census is 16,787,941 and if it is divided by total number of 250 wards, the average population of each ward should be 65,000 plus/minus ten percent i.e. in upper case population of each ward would be 71,500 and in lower case it should be 58,500. But surprisingly the respondent No.2 has not followed the above formula and has delimited the wards as per their own whims and fancies in a most amorphous manner," the plea submitted.
"In the final draft order the population of 77 wards is more than 71,500 and in 69 wards the population is less than 58,500. Astoundingly 23 wards are having population more than 80,000 and the highest is having 93,000 while the lowest ward is having population of 36,000," it has added.
The petition has stated that the notification of the wards dated October 17 was, therefore, unconstitutional and published without carrying out proper field surveys/inspections of the wards to screen all anomalies as pointed out by the citizens including the petitioner.
The petition has also said that division of ward on community and religion is in violation of basic tenets of the Constitution and many localities have been turned “into isolated islands as they are physically within some ward but in delimitation they have been shown inside a ward which is many kilometres away”.
“The Gazette notification speaks volume about the ill will in relation to the Dalit and minority population. The splitting of Dalit and minority population from one ward to many adjoining wards has been done under conspiracy to bulldoze their voice,” it submitted.
“The respondents in the final draft order have pushed the disadvantaged wards of the lower income group further into the dark by increasing their population sizes, whereas elite and richer wards have been handpicked for smaller population sizes. Further, not only this, the funds allocated for each ward would be same,” the plea has added.
It has further contended that the delimitation exercise was carried out in the “most haphazard manner without application of mind” and the formula to fix number of wards in each assembly segment has been grossly violated in many assembly segments.
The matter would be heard next on December 14.
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