Allahabad HC Stays Finalization of Reservation in Panchayat Elections

The Allahabad High Court at Lucknow has stayed the Finalization of Reservation in upcoming Panchayat Elections of 2021.

A Petition was  filed against Government Order dated 11.2.2021 with regard to reservations to be provided in the forthcoming Panchayat elections.

The Counsel for petitioner submitted that provisions for reservations in the aforesaid elections are to be determined as per the Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Raj (Reservation and Allotment of Seats and Offices) Rules, 1994 with Rule 4 providing allotment of seats for reservation on rotational basis.

It was further  submitted that pursuant to amendment in Article 243D of Constitution of India, the aforesaid rules were notified and for the purposes of allotment of seats as per reservation under Rule 4 of Rules of 1994, the base year was taken as 1995. It is submitted that subsequent elections in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010 were held in accordance with the aforesaid Rules of 1994.

Counsel for the Petition further drawn attention of the Court to Government Order dated 16.09.2015 in which it has been indicated that due to substantial demographic changes in the Districts of the State in the Gram Panchayat and Khetra Panchayat territories in view of the census of 2001 and 2011, it is no longer conducive to have 1995 as the base year for purposes of applying reservation as per Rule 4 of Rules of 1994. As such, the base year in view of the changed demographic situation was required to be taken as 2015.

But ignoring the Government Order dated 16.09.2015, the opposite parties are proceeding to reserve the seats in terms of Rule 4 of Rules of 1994 by taking 1995 as the base year instead of 2015.

It was further submitted that Government Order dated 16.09.2015 is still in existence and the previous elections held in the year 2015 were also in accordance with the aforesaid Government Order. Further even otherwise in view of the changed demographic situation as noticed by the State Government itself in Government Order dated 16.09.2015, it does not stand to reason that the base year for purposes of reserving seats in terms of Rule 4 of Rules of 1994 should be taken as 1995.

In view of the above submission, the Division Bench of Hon’ble Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Hon’ble Justice Manish Mathur, while granting time to the State to seek instructions, provided that:

Till the next date of listing, the opposite parties shall not finalize the reservations to be provided in terms of Rule 4 of Rules of 1994.

Next date of hearing is 15.03.2021

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