HC dismisses plea challenging SMC’s mayoral election
Srinagar: The J&K High Court Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking stay on mayoral elections in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
The petition had been filed by a woman claiming to be contesting for Councilor in the by-elections of the Corporation.
Hearing the petition, the court observed that it (court) should not ordinarily come in the way of holding of the election of the institutions like local bodies.
“Looked from any angle, the contentions raised on behalf of the petitioners to stay the operation of the impugned notification and consequently the process for holding the election of Mayor cannot prima facie sustain in the eyes of law,” it said.
One Nuzhat Ara and another petitioner had challenged a notification by Secretary SMC on 19th of this month saying “the notification is in violation of the Municipal Corporation Act and the Rules and Regulations framed there-under”.
The respondent has no authority to issue such notification for election of Mayor and that the notification violates the Model Code of Conduct as the elections are being held for Urban Local Bodies including Municipal Corporations in J&K, they pleaded through their lawyer.
The lawyers appearing on behalf of the SMC argued that the petition is not maintainable and no interim relief can be granted to the petitioners at this stage as the petitioners are not elected representatives of the SMC.
Justice Puneet Gupta, who heard the matter, said that merely because the notification has been issued in pursuance to a decision by the Secretary of the Corporation will not make the process of holding election of Mayor illegal or contrary to the provisions of law.
“The argument of the counsel for the petitioners that the notification is not in conformity with the provisions of the Corporation Act and the Regulations made there-under, cannot find favour with the court,” Justice Gupta said adding “every amiss in the procedure cannot be the reason for holding the action of authority as illegal or nonest in the eyes of law”.
On the contention by the petitioners that the election for Mayor cannot be held as it will be in violation of Model Code of Conduct referring to the Model Code of Conduct for Local Bodies Election in Tamil Nadu and Goa, the judge said “reliance placed upon the ‘Model Code of Conduct’ which is in place in other states is misconceived”.
The Model Code of Conduct which is applicable in other states cannot ipso facto apply to the elections to be held for Urban Local Bodies including Municipal Corporation of the Union Territory, he said.
The court, he said, is not to substitute the ‘Model Code of Conduct’ as applicable in other places which may or may not even contain the clause of barring the conduct of election of Mayor in the Municipal Corporations wherever they are in existence in other parts of the country.