LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court directed the UP government and state election commission Tuesday to hold the urban local body (ULB) elections by January 31 without reservation for backward classes. It said seats reserved for backward classes should be notified as general category for these polls.
The court quashed the UP government’s December 5 provisional list of reserved seats for mayors of 17 municipal corporations, chairpersons of 200 municipal councils and 545 nagar panchayats for the three-tier ULB elections. The government had sought suggestions/objections within seven days. The HC got 93 petitions challenging the draft order.
The bench of Justices DK Upadhyay and Saurabh Lavania observed: “Until triple test (framed by SC in 2010) is completed in all respects by the state government, no reservation for backward class of citizens shall be provided and since the term of municipalities has either ended or shall be coming to an end by January 31, 2023-and the process of completion of triple test being arduous and likely to take considerable time-it is directed that state government and state election commission shall notify polls immediately.”
Polls can’t be delayed for reason of constitutional mandate: HC
The top court’s triple-test formula involves forming a commission to collect data on economic and educational conditions, nature and impact of backwardness of OBCs in municipal bodies, based on which the government would offer proportional reservation in ULB elections, not exceeding the quota cap of 50%.
“While notifying the elections, the seats and offices of chairpersons of municipalities, except those to be reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) , shall be notified for the general category and the notification to be issued for elections shall include the reservation for women in terms of the constitutional provisions,” the bench further said.
The court explained that Article 243-U of the Constitution “mandates that election to constitute a municipality shall be completed before expiry of its duration”, but data collection will take time and “formation of elected municipal bodies by election cannot be delayed for the reason of constitutional mandate”.
The bench further directed that once the dedicated commission is constituted, the claim of transgender people for their inclusion in the OBC category should be considered.
The high court bench also set aside a December 12 notification issued by the state government whereby it had made an arrangement of appointing committees to administer the municipalities whose term was likely to end by January 31.
A three-member committee headed by the district magistrate in such a scenario, the court said.
“However, the said committee shall discharge only day-to-day functions and shall not take any major policy decision.”
The high court bench added that the state government failed to reframe its policy by making triple-test conditions mandatory in the existing enactments in tune with the law declared by the Supreme Court even after the lapse of 12 years.
The government’s counsel had argued that the mechanism adopted by the state was based on a 2017 order and was as good as the triple-test formula.
In response, the high cpirt further said: “Any study into the nature and implications of the backwardness of local bodies necessarily involves ascertainment of representation in the local bodies from amongst the citizens forming traditionally disadvantageous classes.
“Such exercise cannot be confined to counting heads alone as was done in a rapid survey by the state in terms of the government order of April 7, 2017.”

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