co-opted corporators stay by Supreme Court
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Supreme Court’s blows to ruling BJP; disapproves co-opted corporators election

The Supreme Court of India has slammed the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party in Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) and disapproved the election of co-opted corporators which was happened by passing a resolution in the General Body Meeting.  According to the majority strength of the parties in MBMC, three BJP’s and one Congress corporators names were published in the Gazette. However, Shiv Sena’s Vikram Pratap Singh, who also filed the nomination, was declared invalid. The reason cited was, he is listed as a contractor in the MBMC.

“The decision taken by the state government in their favour is correct and the municipal corporation is under the jurisdiction of the state government and they have the right to take the decision and their decision will be supreme,” suggested the apex court.

The ruling BJP has been also slammed by the Supreme Court for not following the rules. On the other hand, the election of co-opted corporators should happen within one month of the local body elections. However, the ruling party had put the issue behind after the August 2017 municipal elections. In the year 2020, the issue of co-opting corporator election was brought in the general body meeting in which three BJP, one Congress and one Shiv Sena candidates were allowed to file their nomination. However, the application of Vikram Pratap Singh, a candidate from Shiv Sena was rejected by the then Commissioner Dr. Vijay Rathod citing the by-laws while the remaining four candidates were finalized and approved by the General Assembly.

Chronological sequences

Independent MLA Geeta Jain had brought a stay order and the government had adjourned the General Body’s resolution. Meanwhile, Nitesh Mungekar, a conscious citizen of Mira Bhayander, had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court and brought the stay order on the proceeding. However, the ruling BJP had moved to the high court and court-ordered to announce the names of four candidates in the Gazette within four days. Objecting to this, on which Shiv Sena’s Vikram Pratap filed a petition in the Supreme Court and brought a stay on the order of the High Court. The state government has also filed a special leave petition against the Bombay High Court’s order in the apex court, for dismissing the February 25 order and ordering the state government to issue the order within three weeks.

The Supreme Court, while accepting Mungekar’s appeal, kept the hearing on August 2 along with the petition of Shiv Sena’s Singh. The Supreme Court, after hearing the arguments of all the senior lawyers of the State Government, Municipal Corporation, Shiv Sena, BJP and Mungekar, has cancelled the order of the High Court.

Court’s order

Cancelling the names of four nominated corporators who were illegally published in the Gazette and apex court put the ball under the Urban Development Minister’s court. The Supreme Court has also said in clear words that even though the appellant Nitesh Mungekar is not a voter or taxpayer, but being an aware citizen, he has raised issues of law in the public interest. He cannot be ignored. The Supreme Court has also given permission to the appellant to come to the court again on whatever decision of the Urban Development Minister.

The arguments were presented by Shiv Sena’s Adv. Meenakshi Arora and Nitesh Mungekar’s Adv. Pravertak Pathak. The decision of the Supreme Court has given a setback to the arbitrary and illegal functioning of the ruling BJP. The Urban Development Minister has also been instructed to take decisions according to the rules of law.

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