New Delhi: In a big win for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Supreme Court has ruled that nominated members cannot vote in the mayoral election of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
Although the Delhi civic body polls concluded in December 2022, the election of the mayor had been postponed thrice in over two months due to a tussle between the AAP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The AAP has been alleging that BJP wants to “capture” the mayor’s post by allowing nominated members to vote. It said allowing nominated members to vote goes against the rules and feared that the votes of nominated members would automatically go to the BJP. The nominated members are appointed by lieutenant governor V.K. Saxena. AAP emerged as the winner in December 2022 polls by bagging 134 wards while the BJP secured 104 seats. The Congress came a distant third with nine seats.
A three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, relied on Article 243R of the constitution and Section 3(3) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 to rule that persons nominated by the LG do not have the right to vote in the mayor’s election, according to Livelaw.in.
“Aldermen (nominated members) cannot vote and that is the basic principle of democracy”, CJI Chandrachud orally said after dictating the order, according to the legal news portal.
The court also said a notice must be issued by authorities concerned to hold the first meeting of the civic body within 24 hours of the issuance of court orders. The notice, the court said, must indicate that the election of the mayor will be on the agenda.
Following the mayor election, the court said the elected mayor should serve as the presiding authority to hold elections for the deputy mayor and members of the standing committee. The nominated members will not be allowed to vote even in the elections to deputy mayor and standing committee members, the court added.
The court directions were passed on the petition moved by AAP mayor candidate Shelly Oberoi.