Panchayat polls: HC seeks response from UP govt, poll panel over reservation of seats

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Lucknow, Apr 8 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court on Thursday sought response of the Uttar Pradesh government and the State Election Commission on a plea challenging the change in the base year for deciding reservation of seats for the panchayat polls.

In a recent amendment to the Panchayati Raj Rules, 2015 was taken as the base year for the rotational quota in the three-tier panchayat elections in the state, the process for which had commenced on March 26.

The Lucknow Bench of the High Court also issued a notice to the advocate general and fixed the hearing after three weeks.

The Bench of Justices Ritu Raj Awasthi and Manish Mathur passed the order on a writ petition, in which petitioner Dilip Kumar challenged the March 26 notification of the State Elelction Commission, whereby it announced the three-tier elections.

The petitioner had pleaded that the rotational system started in 1995 and once it began it could not be set at naught by providing a new base year in 2015.

'The system of reservation being followed from 1995 cannot be set at naught to defeat legitimate expectation of enforced equality of villages with lower population of protected groups that have not benefitted from the reservation thus far,' he pleaded.

He also pleaded that the amendment in the Panchayat Rules on March 17, 2021, violated the doctrine of legitimate expectation flowing from Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution and the basic structure of the Constitution, especially in relation to the 73rd Constitutional amendment.

State lawyer HP Srivastava and election panel counsel Anurag Kumar Singh opposed the plea but considering the challenge to the constitutionality of the March 17 amendment in the Rules, the Bench issued a notice to the AG and also sought response from the UP government and the election panel.

The Bench earlier rejected a review petition moved by the petitioner against the March 15 order of the HC, providing 2015 as the base year for rotational reservation in the panchayat elections. PTI CORR SMI RDK RDK