UP panchayat polls: Allahabad HC restrains state govt, poll panel from finalising reserved seats

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has restrained the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government and the state Election Commission from finalising reserved seats for the upcoming panchayat elections in the state.

The Bench comprising Justices Ritu Raj Awasthi and Manish Mathur instructed the government and Commission to submit their response to issues raised in a public interest litigation within 24 hours. The court will next hear the case on 15 March.

Mohammad Altaf Mansoor, the counsel for petitioner Ajai Kumar, told the court that the government had issued the UP Panchayat Raj (Reservation and Allotment of Seats and Offices) Rules in 1994, providing 1995 as the base to reserve seats on rotation, PTI reported.

On 16 September, 2015, the government issued another notification, saying the base year for reservation would be 2015 and applied it in the panchayat elections that year.

The said notification was issued considering the change in demographic situation in the state and that notification is still in existence, argued the counsel for the petitioner.

The petitioner argued that the current government was now once again applying 1995 as the base year to reserve seats in contravention with the 2015 notification, which doesn't stand to reason.

The court, when told that the Uttar Pradesh government was going to release the final list of reserved seats on 17 March, 2021, passed the interim order, restraining authorities from finalising the list for panchayat polls.

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had suggested a rotational formula for reservation according to which the seats reserved for scheduled caste (SCs), scheduled tribe (STs) and other backward classes (OBCs) will not be reserved for the same categories this year. According to this, the seats will be reserved on the basis of the population in that area, reported Hindustan Times.

The three-tier panchayat elections to elect a total of 57,207 heads are scheduled for April. Uttar Pradesh currently has 58,194 gram sabhas with 7,31,813 wards in them and 826 Vikas Khands (development blocks). The state's 75 zila panchayats have 30,051 wards while the kshetra panchayats have 75,855 wards.



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