Himachal PRI elections: HC dismisses pleas challenging reservation roster

The high court of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday dismissed all the petitions challenging the reservation roster for the upcoming Panchayati Raj Institution elections, citing provisions under the Article 243-o of the Constitution and observing that grievances of the petitioners cannot be looked into at this point of time as election has already been announced.

The Article 243-o bars interference by courts in some electoral matters and provides that election to a panchayat member can be called in question only by an election petition presented to such authority provided for by law. The writ petitions, therefore, cannot be considered as maintainable, at this stage, the court said. Accordingly, these petitions are dismissed reserving liberty to the petitioners to avail appropriate remedy in accordance with the law, said the division bench comprising justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua.

The court, however, taking note of the methodology adopted by the state in preparing the reservation roster and contention advanced by the counsels of the parties, issued some direction to the government for future. “In cases of re-organisation or creation of gram panchayats, reservation of offices therein should be allocated afresh based upon the changed’ population structure in accordance with relevant provisions of applicable statute and the rules,” ordered the court.

Also, while applying the election reservation roster, proper care should be taken so that reservation roster gets rotated to the maximum extent possible, the bench added.

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