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Legal

Updated on: Thursday, December 09, 2021, 08:02 PM IST

FPJ Legal: Bombay HC refuses stay on ordinance increasing BMC wards from 227 to 236

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation | PTI

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation | PTI

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The Bombay high court on Thursday refused to stay the recent ordinance approved by the state cabinet to increase the ward strength of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) ahead of the Municipal elections scheduled for early next year.

A division bench of justices Amjad Sayed and Abhay Ahuja issued notices to the Maharashtra government, Election Commission of India asking them to file their replies by December 21.

The HC was hearing a petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Abhijit Samant and one Rajeshree Shirwadkar terming the ordinance as “illegal and arbitrary” and alleged that it was issued ahead of the BMC elections scheduled for next year to benefit a certain political party.

On November 30, the government issued an ordinance that amended the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act to increase the number of Municipal wards in the city from 227 to 236.

While the Maharashtra government maintained that the said change was brought about to ensure that the total number of seats in various Municipal Corporations and Municipal Councils were commensurate with the population increase in the respective areas, the petition claims that the state did not have requisite data to make such change.

According to the petition, the government used data of the 2011 census to increase the number of municipal wards in the city. The 2011 census showed that the city's population rose by 3.87 percent. However, the state government did not increase the number of corporators in 2011 and the current composition of the civic body has been unchanged since 2001, the plea said.

Besides, in 2016, the state election commission used the 2011 census to draw boundaries, reserve some of the existing wards for backward classes, scheduled tribes etc., but did not change the number of wards for the 2017 Municipal elections.

Since, the 2011 census statistics were already made use of for the 2017 elections and the number of wards were not changed at the time, they must now only be changed using data from the next census, contends the petition.

Petitioners’ lawyers, counsel Milind Sathe and advocate Prahlad Paranjpe, sought an interim stay on the implementation of the ordinance till decision on their petition,

However, the HC refused to stay the ordinance and directed Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni to take instructions on the matter and to ensure that the state government filed a short affidavit in reply clarifying its stand.

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Published on: Thursday, December 09, 2021, 08:02 PM IST
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