Lucknow: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has restrained the state government and the State Election Commission (SEC) from finalizing reservations for upcoming panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Hearing a PIL petition filed by one Ajay Kumar, a bench comprising Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Manish Mathur, on Friday, directed the government and the State Election Commission to furnish their response on the issue raised by the petitioner within 24 hours.
The court has fixed March 15 as the next date of hearing. The petitioner has challenged an order of the state government issued on February 11, 2021, regarding reservation in elections.
Petitioner’s counsel, Mohd Altaf Mansoor, said the government had issued UP Panchayat Raj (Reservation and Allotment of Seats and Offices) Rules in 1994, whereby it had provided that the base year for applying reservation on seats by rotation would be 1995.
Subsequently, the government issued another notification on September 16, 2015, providing that the base year would be considered as 2015.
The government applied reservation in Zila and kshetra panchayat elections on this basis in the 2015 elections.
“The said notification was issued considering the change in demographic conditions of the state and it is still in existence,” the petitioner’s counsel said.
“However, the state government is applying 1995 as the base year for rotation in the reservation for seats in panchayat elections in the entire state in contravention of the September 16, 2015 notification,” the petitioner said.
“Even otherwise, in view of changed demographic conditions, as noticed by the state government in 2015, it does not stand to reason that the base year for the purpose of reserving seats be taken as 1995,” the petitioner said.
When the petitioner’s lawyer said the government was going to issue a final reservation on March 17, 2021, the bench passed the interim order restraining the authorities from finalizing the reservation for panchayat elections.