In a legal victory for the Aam Aadmi Party, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to notify the first meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to elect a Mayor within 24 hours and held that nominated members cannot vote in these polls.
A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said that the notice issued by the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) should specifically mention the date of the first meeting for the mayoral election..
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), said that the election was usually held in 72 hours.
The court said that a Mayor would be elected first. Then, the Mayor would preside over the elections of the Deputy Mayor and for the six Standing Committees.
In this regard, the court referred to a notification issued by the Urban Development department of the National Capital Territory on February 2, 2023, “clarifying that elections of the Mayor shall first be held”. The court also referred to provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Procedures and Conduct of Business) regulations to support its findings.
‘No votes for nominees’
The Bench did not agree with the L-G’s contention that nominated members could vote in the first meeting. The restriction was only regarding regular meetings of the municipal corporation, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had argued for the LG.
The court pointed out that Article 243R of the Constitution did not distinguish between the first and regular meetings. The constitutional provision was very clear that nominated members, made part of the House for their specialised knowledge in municipal administration, have no votes in the elections for the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Standing Committee members.
The order noted that over two months had elapsed since new MCD councillors had been elected in December 2022.. The polls for a Mayor and Deputy Mayor were “held up” due to intervening events. The AAP had secured the majority with 134 wards in the 250-ward House, followed by the BJP with 104 wards.
The order came in a petition filed by the AAP’s mayoral candidate Shelly Oberoi, represented by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi and advocate Shadan Farasat, after the elections were stalled thrice in January and February.