In a major relief to the Aam Aadmi Party, the Supreme Court on Friday held that nominated members of the Delhi municipal corporation cannot vote in the elections for the mayor’s post, Live Law reported.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala has directed Delhi lieutenant governor to announce within 24 hours the date of the polls to elect the mayor. This breaks a deadlock between the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party due to which Delhi’s mayor has not been elected more than two months after the civic elections were held.
In December, the Aam Aadmi Party had won the Delhi civic body elections to wrest the municipal corporation from the Bharatiya Janata Party after 15 years. But the polls to elect the mayor has been stalled on three occasions since then with the presiding officer allowing the nominated members, or aldermen, of the civic body to vote.
Aldermen are nominated councillors who have special knowledge of municipal administration and are tasked with assisting the House in decisions of public importance. They are appointed by the lieutenant governor.
The Aam Aadmi Party has accused the BJP of trying to control of the civic body despite losing the elections. It has alleged that the nominated councillors are BJP supporters. In January, Aam Aadmi Party mayoral candidate Shelly Oberoi had filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding that the mayoral election be conducted in a time-bound manner.
On Friday, the judges held that according to Article 243R of the Constitution and Section 3(3) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, persons nominated by an administrator – in this case, the lieutenant governor – do not have the right to vote, Live Law reported.
The judges also said that after the mayor is elected, she will be the presiding officer for the election of the deputy mayor. In her plea, Oberoi had also raised objections to holding simultaneous elections to the post of mayor, deputy mayor and standing committee, Bar and Bench reported.
In a tweet on Friday, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party National Convener Arvind Kejriwal thanked the Supreme Court, and hailed its decision as a “victory for democracy”.
“It has been proved that the LG and the BJP have been passing illegal and unconstitutional orders in collusion every other day,” Kejriwal wrote.