Recently, the High Court of Kerala has dismissed a batch of petitions wherein the allocation of reserved seats to different divisions/wards of some local bodies in the State for ensuing elections was challenged.
Arguments raised by the petitioners.
It was argued that some divisions/wards were reserved for one or the other categories in the elections held during 2015 and 2010 and the same wards/divisions are reserved again for the third time.
Reliance was placed on the judgement of the High Court in K.T Eldhose vs State of Kerala where it was held that reserving seats successively beyond two occasions, where seats reserved could have been distributed in a manner that no seats would go reserved for more than two times successively, was against the Article 243D and Article 243T of Constitution of India and also against provisions of Kerala Municipality Act and Kerala Panchayat Raj Act.
Reasoning and Order of the Court:
Hon’ble Justice PB Suresh Kumar observed that in K.T Eldhose vs the State of Kerala it was held that treating seats reserved for ST/SC candidates at par with general seats reserved for women was against the doctrine of equality.
It was further observed that reserving a seat successively for more than two times when the reserved seats could be allocated otherwise was against the relevant provisions of the Constitution.
The Court referred to Election Commission of India vs Ashok Kumar and held that in cases related to the election, the Court could only interfere if it subserves the progress of elections and helps in completion of elections.
Hon’ble Court, while dismissing the petitions observed that in the instant case, the election process has not formally commenced as notification has not been published. But, as the announcement for the election has already been made, the Court might not be in a position to adjudicate the case before the date for filing of the nominations.
Hon’ble Judge further observed that he should refrain from exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 because the term of the local bodies of the State was set to expire on 11.11.2020 and as per the mandate of Article of 243E and 243U of the Constitution the election for constituting new local bodies should be conducted before the expiry of the term of earlier local bodies.
Title: Bijo Jacob vs State Election Commission & Ors
Case No.: WP(C).No.23927 OF 2020(M)
Date of Order:11.11.2020
Coram:Hon’ble Justice P.B Suresh Kumar