The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday said that no reservation should be given to members of the Other Backward Classes community in the urban local body elections in Uttar Pradesh, PTI reported. The court also directed authorities to hold the elections at the earliest.

A bench of Justice Devendra Upadhyaya and Justice Saurabh Lavania also annulled a December 5 notification issued by the state government announcing reservation for OBCs in the elections.

The court passed the order after hearing a batch of petitions alleging that the quota had been announced without completing the Supreme Court-mandated “triple test”.

In March last year, the Supreme Court, while deciding on the legality of OBC reservations in Maharashtra local body elections, set out a three-fold test that state governments have to follow to provide these reservations.

First, they must set up a dedicated commission to examine backwardness in local bodies within the state. Second, states must determine the size of the quota based on the data collected by the commission. Third, these reservations, combined with the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes quotas, should not be more than 50% of the total seats in the local body.

On Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court said that until conditions mandated in the “triple test” are complied with, no reservation to OBCs can be provided, reported The Indian Express.

“…since the term of Municipalities has either ended or shall be coming to an end by 31.01.2023 and the process of completion of triple test/conditions being arduous, is likely to take considerable time, it is directed that the State Government/State Election Commission shall notify the elections immediately,” the bench said.

Shortly after the verdict, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath said that elections will not be held in the state without providing reservation to the OBCs.

“We will form a commission that will conduct a survey of OBCs on the basis of the Supreme Court guidelines,” he said, according to PTI. “If required, we will go to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s order.”

Reservation in urban local body elections

In its December 5 notification, the Uttar Pradesh government had issued a provisional list of reserved seats for mayors of 17 municipal corporations, chairpersons of 200 municipal councils and 545 nagar panchayats for the urban local body elections, according to PTI.

Among these, four mayoral seats – Aligarh, Mathura-Vrindavan, Meerut and Prayagraj – were reserved for OBC candidates. Of these the posts in Aligarh and Mathura-Vrindavan were reserved for OBC women candidates.

Of the 200 municipal council seats, 54 had been reserved for OBCs, reported PTI.

For the chairpersons’ seats, 147 out of the 545 nagar panchayats seats were reserved for OBC candidates. This included 49 seats for OBC women candidates.