SC stays HC order cancelling polls to 5 civic bodies

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Panaji: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted interim stay on the judgment of the High Court of Bombay at Goa, which had set aside a notification dated February 4 related to reservation of wards in five municipal councils of Margao, Mormugao, Mapusa, Quepem and Sanguem.

The apex court has also stayed the order of Goa Election Commission keeping in abeyance the election code of conduct in the five municipal councils.

The technical stay has been granted, as the special leave petition (SLP), filed by Goa government, would have become infructuous if no interim stay was granted. The top court will hear the matter on Tuesday for final disposal.

The state government had filed an SLP before the apex court against the High Court’s order on municipal ward reservation.

It may be noted that the High Court had set aside notification related to reservation of wards in the five civic bodies of Margao, Mapusa, Mormugao, Sanguem and Quepem. The High Court had allowed elections to be conducted as per the schedule in the remaining municipal councils.

The High Court had directed the Directorate of Municipal Administration to set aside its earlier notification related to the reservation of wards in the five municipal councils and issue a fresh one within ten days by following the available norms. It had also directed to ensure reservation for women, of not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved for direct elections to the municipal councils. It had also directed the state government to complete the elections by April 15.

The Advocate General had pleaded before the High Court to stay the order for a week so as to enable him to challenge it before the Supreme Court. The High Court had, however, denied the plea of the Advocate General.