Maharashtra local body elections will be held on December 21 as planned, but without OBC seats: election commission of the state
The Maharashtra State Election Commission said on Tuesday that elections to ZPs and panchayat samitis on all seats except those reserved for OBCs will be held as scheduled on December 21, a day after the Supreme Court stayed local body elections on seats with up to 27 percent reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
“Polls on seats reserved for OBCs have been stayed by the Supreme Court. According to Maharashtra State Election Commissioner UPS Madan, “we will take action regarding the un-polled seats as per the next orders of the apex court.”
Maharashtra’s local body elections are set to take place on December 21 this year. Over 400 of the 1,200 seats reserved for OBCs will now have to wait for the Supreme Court’s next orders.
According to Madan, the election schedule was announced in accordance with the Bombay High Court’s directives.
The apex court made it clear in its order that the election process for all other seats in Maharashtra, except those reserved for OBCs, would continue.
The order was issued after the Supreme Court heard two petitions, one of which was challenging provisions inserted/amended through an Ordinance allowing for up to 27% reservation for the backward class of citizens in all Maharashtra local bodies.
“As a result, the State Election Commission shall desist from carrying out the Election Programme already notified in respect of reserved seats for ‘OBC category only’ in the concerned local bodies,” Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar wrote for a bench of Justices.
According to the schedule, bypolls for four vacant seats in four municipal corporations and 7,130 seats in 4,554 gramme panchayats will be held on December 21 in 106 nagar panchayats, zilla parishads of Bhandara and Gondia, and 15 panchayat samitis under them.
In March of this year, the Supreme Court ruled that OBC reservations in Maharashtra’s concerned local bodies cannot exceed 50% of the total seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and OBCs combined.
While reading down section 12(2)(c) of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act 1961, which provided 27% reservation for persons belonging to the backward class, the apex court also quashed the state election commission’s notifications issued in 2018 and 2020 to the extent of providing OBCs with seats in concerned local bodies.
It had alluded to the triple condition mentioned in the 2010 Constitution bench ruling, which included the establishment of a dedicated commission to conduct a contemporaneous rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of the state’s backwardness qua local bodies. PTI NSK ND NSK