Telangana

HC dismisses PIL plea on municipal polls

Telangana High Court in Hyderabad.

Telangana High Court in Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: File photo

No level playing field, argues petitioner

The Telangana High Court on Tuesday dismissed the PIL plea, filed by Nalgonda MP and Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, seeking to stay municipal polls in the State.

A Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy, which had directed the State Election Commission (SEC) the previous day to put on hold for a day the poll notification, dismissed the petition giving green signal to elections in 120 municipalities and 10 municipal corporations in the State.

After seeking several clarifications from petitioner’s lawyer D. Prakash Reddy and SEC counsel C.V. Mohan Reddy, the Bench delivered the verdict having heard their contentions and citations for nearly six hours. Senior lawyer Prakash Reddy argued that the notification issued by the SEC on December 23, 2019 was not an election notification in accordance with Section 195 of Telangana Municipalities Act-2019.

“The notification was issued hurriedly. The dates for filing nominations, announcement of reservations to different groups shows fixation of unreasonable timings. This does not create level playing field for everyone,” the senior counsel told the court. The CJ sought to know from the petitioner’s counsel what was wrong if division of wards and voters list were finalised simultaneously.

Reasonable time gap

The Bench observed that on one hand the government would be criticised for delaying polls if it took longer time for poll arrangements and would be accused of hurrying if the processes were completed quicker. When the senior lawyer said the political parties would require reasonable time gap between declaration of reservations of wards and filing of nominations, the Bench observed that political parties would be planning well in advance for elections.

Mr. Prakash Reddy, before concluding his arguments, appealed to the Bench to consider deferment of municipal polls at least by a week to 10 days if it did not want to pass direction to stall the elections. Mr. C.V. Mohan Reddy told the court that notification issued by the SEC was not an election notification but a notice aimed at alerting people at large about the ensuing municipal polls.

Lottery system

The Bench, however, issued notices to the State government on the constitutional validity of adopting lottery system to decide upon reservations for women in the municipal elections in a separate writ petition.

Lawyer B. Rachna Reddy moved a lunch motion challenging the lottery system to declare reservations for women. It was taken up for hearing after the counsels for the SEC and the PIL petitioner concluded their arguments. After hearing Ms. Rachna Reddy’s contentions, the Bench directed the government to file detailed counter and posted the matter after four weeks for hearing.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 12:19:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/hc-dismisses-pil-plea-on-municipal-polls/article30506052.ece

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