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HC commands SEC to conduct bypolls in 13 MCD wards within 3 months

PTI 29 Jan 2016, 17:24:23 IST

New Delhi: Delhi High Court today directed the state election commission to hold bye-elections within three months in 13 municipal wards of the national capital.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath also directed the Delhi government to provide the requisite manpower and funds to the state election commission within four weeks from today for conducting the polls.

"We direct the respondent no 1 (state election commission) to hold bye-elections on 13 seats of the three Municipal Corporations. We also direct the Delhi government to provide adequate manpower and funds within four weeks from today," it said.

The Delhi government had earlier suggested in the high court the option of advancing the 2017 MCD polls to September-October 2016 when elections can be held for all municipal wards.

The court, however, was of the view that it would not be appropriate to keep the 13 wards vacant for such a long time. It then reserved its verdict on December 22, 2015.

Also read: Hold fresh elections to Municipal Corporation of Delhi, says Arvind Kejriwal

Earlier, the court had told the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold bye-elections to vacant seats in 13 municipal wards of the national capital by April 30.

The direction had come after SEC submitted that it was committed to holding bye-elections to the vacant seats in four months, if the state government provides the requisite manpower, police personnel and funds.

The government had then sought time to get back to the court on whether requisite manpower could be provided.

The court'S order came on a PIL, filed by 20-year-old law student Sanjana Gahlot, on bad civic condition in her village as drain water was overflowing on all streets and filth was spread everywhere with the entire village suffering due to foul smell.

Seven wards in South Delhi Municipal Corporation, four in the north and two in the east are currently without councillors.

On November 2 last year, the government had said it was for the Delhi election panel to take a final decision on holding of the municipal bypolls.

The SEC had sought a direction to provide requisite funds and resources to conduct elections to the vacant 13 municipal seats out of total 272 wards in all three MCDs.