HC declines stay

J&K High Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking stay on election to the post of mayor Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) which is scheduled on November 25.

A bench of justice Puneet Gupta dismissed the application by Nuzhat Ara and Ali Muhammad Tantray of the National Conference.

In their plea, the duo challenged secretary SMC’s notification dated 19.11.2020 for election to the post of mayor terming it “a violation of the Municipal Corporation Act and the rules framed there-under.”

The petitioners, contesting for councilor in the by-election of the SMC, submitted that the notification was also in violation of the model code of conduct as by-elections were being held for urban local bodies.

The SMC, however, argued that the petitioners had no locus to challenge the notification as they are not presently the councilors.

After hearing the parties, the court said: “There is no clause in the model code of conduct issued by the Chief Electoral Officer of J&K, which bars the Municipal Corporation to hold the election for the post of mayor during the ongoing process of by-elections of municipal bodies”.

“Courts should not ordinarily come in the way of holding of the election of the institutions like local bodies,” it said.

“. . . The Model Code of Conduct applicable in other states cannot ipso fact apply to the elections to be held for Urban Local Bodies including Municipal Corporation of the Union Territory.

“. . . (T)he contentions raised on behalf of the petitioners to stay the operation of the impugned notification and consequently the process for holding the election of mayor cannot prima facie sustain in the eyes of law,” the court said while dismissing the application seeking stay on the election.

The court however listed the main petition for consideration on December 23.