The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea of two BJP councillors challenging the Maharashtra government’s ordinance notifying the increase of nine seats in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for which elections are scheduled later this month.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana did not agree to the contention of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the BJP leaders, that the power to increase the number of wards has to be exercised by the poll panel and not by the civic body that too through an Ordinance.
Rohatgi said the last census available was of 2011 and based on that, two elections for BMC have been conducted in 2011 and 2017, and the increase of the number of wards from 227 to 236 was not valid.
“The issue of increase in the number of wards depends on the population,” said the bench which also comprised justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli.
Can't adjudicate disqualification pleas against CM, other MLAs directly, Maha speaker to decide within reasonable period: SC
SC criticises trend of seeking bail under guise of challenging validity of PMLA in money laundering cases
SC dismisses Sukesh Chandrasekhar's plea to be shifted from Mandoli jail to prison outside Delhi
SC to hear plea challenging promotion of 68 Guj judicial officers, including CJM who convicted Gandhi
Environmental clearance to Avulapalli reservoir: Andhra Pradesh moves SC against NGT order
Elgar Parishad case: SC issues notice to Maha, NIA on activist Jyoti Jagtap's plea for bail
“The wards have to be decided and commissioned by the Election Commission and not by the corporation. And here the Corporation has been exercising the power through an Ordinance,” Rohatgi said.
The population increases every day and the number of seats cannot be increased without the census and the last one was held in 2011 and on that, two elections for the BMC were held, he said.
“That does not mean that they should keep quiet and should not increase ever. The last census was in 2011. They cannot wait till the 2021 census is held. After all, this is only the increase in the number of seats. Sorry. Dismissed,” the bench said.
Earlier, the top court had agreed to consider listing the appeal against the Bombay High Court order for hearing keeping in mind the fact that the polls for the municipal body are round the corner.
Recently, the Bombay High Court dismissed a plea by two BJP councillors — Abhijit Samant and Rajeshree Shirwadkar — challenging the November 30 Maharashtra government ordinance that notified the increase of nine seats in the BMC.
The Maharashtra urban development department notification increased the number of BMC seats from 227 to 236 after the proposal was cleared by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.