Former BMC corporator Raju Pednekar filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the decision of the Eknath Shinde-led government’s decision to decrease the BMC wards to 227 which was earlier been increased by the erstwhile Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) led by Uddhav Thackeray government to 236.
The present government had passed an ordinance on August 8 that reversed MVA government’s decision on the delimitation of corporation wards and reduced the number of wards from 236 to 227.
Pednekar, who belongs to the Shiv Sena (UBT), approached the HC on Monday after Supreme Court recently refused to entertain his plea. Joel Carlos, Pednekar’s advocate, mentioned the petition before a division bench of justices RD Dhanuka and Kamal Khata seeking an urgent hearing.
The HC kept the petition for hearing on November 16. The petition urges that the court declare the August ordinance as “null and void”. Besides, it has sought that the process be stayed till the hearing of the petition. The plea further prays for the State Election Commission(SEC)to conduct BMC elections on the basis of delimitation carried as per the Supreme Court orders of May 4 and July 20.
The plea contends that the ordinance had “put the clock back” and annulled the Amendment Act whereby the number of BMC wards was increased from 227 to 336. The ordinance said the 2021 census had not been undertaken and therefore the increase was not sustainable.
Challenging the stand, Pednekar said the high court had observed that the non-completion of the 2021 census would cause no impediment to increasing the number of directly elected councillors and that it was affirmed by the Supreme Court.