How can Panaji have 'reserved' Mayor without reserved corporator?

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 23 March 2013 10:42 IST

16 Panaji Corporators at High Court

The majority group of Panaji corporators has raised a vital question before the high court – how can the post of Mayor and deputy mayor be reserved for SC or ST, when there are no corporators elected with such reservation?

Besides other legal issues, it has to be seen what the Bombay high court at Panaji decides about the petition filed by 16 corporators of the City Corporation of Panaji, challenging postponement of elections of mayor and deputy mayor by the government.

The Director of Municipal Administration postponed the election last minute, as alleged by the 16 corporators, since the opposition group led by Taleigao Congress MLA Babush Monseratte was coming to power, by supporting independent corporator Surendra Furtado as the mayor.

Presently, due to postponement, BJP-supported Vaidehi Naik continues to be the mayor, though her one year term expired legally.

Challenging this decision, the corporators have approached the Governor as well as the High Court.

The DMA notice said the election is postponed since it is examining few requests by Panaji citizens to keep the posts of mayor reserved for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Women.

As the opposition created chaos in the Assembly over the issue, chief minister Manohar Parrikar told the media that he plans to amend the CCP Act in this session itself, in order to incorporate the provision of reservation.

In view of this, the petition states:

“… as a matter of fact in the seats which are filed in by election to the Corporation, there is no reservation for persons belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community. The question therefore of postponing the election  to the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor on the purported plea of considering alleged representation for reservation is malafide and is meant to scuttle the democratic process of holding elections.”

The corporators have also stated in the petition that the CCP Act does not confer power to the Government or CCP Commissioner Sanjit Rodricks to postpone the election.

The 16 corporators, led by Furtado, have thus prayed to the High Court to:

-          Quash the DMA order of postponing the election

-          Direct the DMA to fix a date for election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor

-          Restrain Mayor Vaidehi Naik and Deputy Mayor Tony Rodrigues from continuing in office, pending hearing

-          Grant ad-interim ex-parte relief in terms of restraining existing Mayor and Deputy Mayor from performing their duties

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