Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party has moved the Supreme Court challenging the State Election Commission’s (SEC) decision to postpone the municipal elections without any reasonable ground.
The plea contended that the decision has been taken solely on the basis of unofficial communication by the Central government. “The brazen influence of the Government of India over the State Election Commission and its flagrant meddling with the conduct of municipal elections forms the subject matter of this writ petition,” said the plea.
The plea sought a direction to the SEC to conduct the municipal elections in Delhi, according to the initially conceived schedule, before the expiry of the tenure of the Municipal Corporations of Delhi, in May 2022, in a free and fair manner.
The petition contended that the SEC, on March 9, issued a press note for holding the polls in April.
“However, precisely half an hour later, by way of a press note, it conveyed that it had received some communication from the Lt. Governor of Delhi, conveying that the Government of India was intending to pass a legislation to merge the trifurcated Municipal Corporations of Delhi. In light of this communication, the press conference to declare the election schedule was indefinitely postponed; the municipal elections consequently being deferred,” said the plea.
The plea added that no formal state communication has been issued to this effect yet. Even in the ongoing Budget Session, no agenda has been declared regarding the tabling of a Bill to this effect, it added.
“As no subsequent formal notification, agenda or communication regarding the merger of the Corporations has come from the state, it clearly showed the delaying tactics to hamper the free and fair conduct of elections beyond the constitutionally mandated period of five years, as per Article 243U of the Constitution,” it said.
The plea questioned whether the SEC can be influenced by an unofficial communication sent by the Centre to defer municipal elections, which the poll body was prepared to conduct.
“The timing of this communication, right before the declaration of the schedule also leaves much to be desired. The conduct of the government makes evident its attempt to interfere with the free and fair conduct of elections. Instead of stopping the government from doing so and protecting its independence, the respondent commission has given in and deferred the elections”, added the plea.
The plea contended that the sole influence of the government in deferring the municipal elections is a clear infringement of the independence of the State Election Commission and an evident obstruction to the impartial conduct of elections.
“Issue a writ of mandamus, directing Respondent Commission to expeditiously conduct the municipal elections in Delhi as per their initial proposal, in a free and fair manner,” said the plea.