Delhi HC grants time to respondents on plea against order for MCD Standing Committee repoll

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted two weeks’ time to respondents to file their reply on a plea against the order for re-election of the Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

A bench of Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaur also granted a week’s time to the petitioners to file their rejoinders and listed the matter for the next hearing on April 24.

The bench had issued a notice to all respondents, including newly-elected Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi.

On February 24, the Mayor had announced re-elections for the Standing Committee on February 27 due to the chaos that rocked the MCD House during polling for its members earlier.

A ruckus was raised after Oberoi had declared one vote invalid in the election to pick six members of the Standing Committee.

In a special hearing on February 25, the Delhi High Court had put a stay on a notice issued by Oberoi, saying that no purpose will be served by conducting a fresh elections on February 27.

Justice Gaurang Kanth had said that prima facie, the notice is in violation of Regulation 51 of New Delhi Municipal Council (Procedure and Conduct of Business) Regulations, 1997, as the returning officer or Mayor is conducting re-elections without declaring the results of the elections conducted on February 24.

The court had also issued directions to preserve the ballot box.

The notice was issued by the court on two petitions moved by BJP leaders Kamaljeet Sehrawat and Shikha Roy challenging the notice issued by the Mayor on February 24.

The court had observed that from a perusal of Regulation 51, it is nowhere reflected that the returning officer or Mayor has the authority to declare an election to the Standing Committee null and void.

“It is not out of place to mention that admittedly, the counting of votes and further duty cast upon the Mayor as in declaring the results of the elections held on February 24 shall culminate into final results,” the court had said.

“In view thereof, the notice dated February 24, 2023, for re-election shall remain stayed till the next date of hearing.”

Counsel appearing for the petitioners had submitted that the Mayor conducted the elections for six members of the Standing Committee on February 24, but, without declaring results, a notice was issued on the same day for re-elections.

On February 24, BJP councillor Sharad Kapoor had moved the Delhi High Court, alleging that Oberoi did not stick to the rules of not using mobile phones and pens during voting to elect the MCD Standing Committee members.

In his petition, he argued that the Mayor “defied every constitutional and statutory norm” and “betrayed the mandate of the Constitution by allowing mobile phones and pens in the election proceedings”.

The petitioner had also sought to declare the February 22 polls as null and void.

All hell broke loose after Oberoi stalled the recounting of votes for electing the members of the all-powerful MCD Standing Committee following objections raised by the AAP.

It was free for all in the MCD House with BJP and AAP councillors trading blows at each other, showing scant disregard for the sanctity of the House.

Protesting against the Mayor’s decision to stall the recounting process, BJP councillors started breaking mikes, tearing ballot papers, and even damaged the polling booths.

–IANS

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