Mumbai: A former councillor on Monday moved the Bombay High Court against an ordinance issued by the Eknath Shinde led Maharashtra government reducing the number of directly elected councillors within the limits of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from 236 to 227.
In November 2021, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray had decided to the increase the number of wards from 227 to 236. However, in August, the Shiv Sena-BJP government issued an ordinance bringing back to number to 227.
Former BMC councillor Raju Pednekar, through his lawyer Joel Carlos, on Monday challenged the August 2022 ordinance, claiming that it sought to put the clock back.
The petition will be heard on November 16
The petition will be heard on November 16 by a division bench of Justices R D Dhanuka and Kamal Khata. The petitioner pointed out that to ensure the increased population was proportionately represented in the BMC, the previous state government had decided that the number of directly elected councillors would be increased by nine, bringing the number to 236.
This was then challenged before the High Court, which proceeded to dismiss the petitions. The court held that the increase in number of councillors was proportionate to the rise in population based on 2011 census.
Upheld by Supreme Court
This was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Despite this, the present state government reversed the earlier cabinet decision, the plea said.
The ordinance under challenge is ex-facie illegal and unconstitutional, as it purports to defeat and nullify the orders of the Supreme Court, the petition stated.
The BMC elections are already overdue by more than six months and if the ordinance is not stayed, then the State Election Commission will not be able to conduct the polls, it said.