Mumbai: The State Election Commission (SEC) has informed the Bombay High Court that it has included disclosure clause for election for local municipal corporations and councils asking the candidates to declare whether they themselves, their spouses or dependants have constructed any unauthorised structure/s.
An affidavit was filed by SEC secretary Suryakrishnamurty pursuant to an earlier HC order.
Court seeks disclosure either on affidavit or on the nomination form
A division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor is hearing a petition by one Shantanu Nandgude seeking directions to the respondents to seek disclosure either on affidavit or on the nomination form, from the candidate who is contesting election for municipal corporation, pertaining to whether the candidate has constructed any unauthorised construction either by himself or by his spouse or his dependents.
On September 6, the HC had directed the SEC consider and take decision on including a disclosure clause in nomination form. The HC had asked the SEC to file an affidavit bringing on record its decision.
The election commission has said that on September 26, it amended Clause 16.5 of its 2018 order by which an affidavit to be filed by the candidate contesting an election to Municipal Corporation has to declare whether any unauthorised construction has been made by himself/ herself, spouse or dependent.
Advocate Sachin Shetye, appearing for the SEC, said that it will be mandatory on the part of the candidate to make such a declaration.
The bench has asked the SEC to inform whether it will be made applicable to local bodies, including gram panchayats.
According to the PIL, Nandgude came across a news report in January 2022 stating that there was a discussion held in the general body meeting of Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation with regard to rising unauthorised construction in the corporation limits.
He made representations to the state government and finally to the SEC seeking such disclosure by the candidate in the Election Nomination Form of upcoming municipal corporation / municipal council elections, 2022.
Since the respondent failed to take any steps, he then filed a PIL.
His advocates, Shriram Kulkarni and Vrushali Kabare, had submitted that Section 10 (1D) of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act (MMC Act) provides for disqualification of corporator / councillor if they are found to be directly and indirectly responsible for the unauthorised construction in their respective constituencies.
Amended Clause 16.5
“I have read the provisions of Section 10 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, 1949 / Section 16 of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 and as per the said provision
I am not disqualified from being elected as member of municipal Corporation. I myself
or my wife / my husband / my dependents have not made any unauthorised construction. I am aware that as per the provisions of Section 10 (1D) Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, 1949 / Section 16 (1D) of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, I shall be disqualified from holding the office of councillor if I am found to have made an unauthorised construction.”