COURT SEEKS TO KNOW WHETHER IT WILL ASK GOVT TO MAKE CHANGES OR PROCEED WITH POLLS WITHOUT CHANGE
The State Election Commission (SEC) on Tuesday admitted before the Bombay High Court at Goa that there could be some divergence from the mandate when it comes to notifying wards reserved for women.
The SEC’s admission comes after the court directed it to file a detailed response whether they will try and rectify the discrepancies in consultation with the state government.
The High Court, which has been hearing as many as nine petitions challenging the reservation of wards for women as well as for various scheduled caste, tribes and other backward communities, was told that there were several municipalities where the wards reserved for women were less than the mandated 33 per cent with the examples of Bicholim and Cuncolim being offered.
Similarly, the Court was also told that in several municipalities the number of wards reserved for OBCs was less than the mandated 27 per cent citing the examples of Valpoi, Sanguem and Pernem where it was alleged that only 20 per cent wards were notified as reserved.
With regard to the Mormugao Municipal Council, the court was told that the reservations were done in a haphazard manner sans any rationale.
In response, the State Advocate General Devidas Pangam told the Court that no one’s rights were prejudiced and no one had a right to claim that they have a right to demand a particular ward be declared as reserved or if it was declared as reserved to be notified as general.
The High Court asked the State Election Commission to file a detailed reply by Wednesday whether it seeks to ask the Goa government to rectify the reservations or if it plans to go ahead with the elections with the reservations as currently notified even if the government doesn’t offer to correct the discrepancies.
The High Court has been hearing petitions since Monday and had expressed displeasure in the manner in which the State Election Commission went ahead and notified the polls even when it was aware that several petitions were pending before the court in which it was a respondent.