Legislative assembly

Two bills passed in both houses to postpone local polls until OBC quota is reinstated in Maharashtra

The Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council on Monday unanimously passed two bills, which would lay the groundwork for the postponement of local body elections in Maharashtra until the Other Backward Class Reservation (OBC) is reinstated .

Pursuant to these bills, the State Election Commission (SEC) will now decide the election schedule for local and civic body elections in consultation with the state government. In addition, the amendments proposed the cancellation of the demarcation process and the fixing of civic and local body quarters by the SEC. These bills were drafted on the model of a law of Madhya Pradesh.

The state government has introduced two bills to amend the Mumbai Municipal Corporations Act, Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, Maharashtra Municipal Councils, Panchayats and Industrial Townships Act 1965 , the Village Panchayats Act of Maharashtra and the Parishads and Panchayat Samitis of Maharashtra Act 1961. Bills are passed unanimously in the Council and the Assembly.

The bill stated: “The government has recently increased the number of directly elected councilors in municipal corporations, town councils and Nagar Panchayats in the state. The government has also introduced a tiered ward system in municipal corporations, city council and Nagar Panchayats. In order to bring sweetness and celebration to the said political decisions of the government, he considers it necessary to take power with the government to divide the territory of the said local communities into districts and to specify their limits.

He added: “It is also proposed to annualize the process of dividing the area of ​​said local authorities into wards and specifying their boundaries, which was started or ended by the SEC prior to the start of the proposed amendments. “

In January, the Supreme Court ordered the Maharashtra government to submit data on OBCs to the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes (MSCBC) to review their accuracy and make recommendations on their representation in elections. local bodies. The SC had also ordered MSCBC to submit an interim report to the authorities within two weeks of receiving the information from the state government.

Subsequently, the government handed over the data to the MSCBC. The MSCBC, in its 35-page report submitted in February, had recommended up to 27% booking for OBCs. The report was then submitted to the SC.

The CS, during its hearing on March 4, however, rejected the report. A bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar said, “The report itself mentions that the same is being prepared in the absence of studies and empirical research by the Commission. Having failed to do so, the Commission should not have filed the interim report.

“As a result, it is not possible to allow any authority, let alone the National Electoral Commission, to follow up on the recommendations made in the said report. At this time, we do not intend to dwell on the correctness of each of the observations made by the commission in the interim report. However, we order all concerned not to act on the interim report as submitted,” the court added.

The bench also ordered the SEC to notify the local body election process without further delay and to comply with its earlier order that ordered that OBC seats be treated as general class seats.