Nagaland Urban Local Body polls with women reservation to take place on 16 May: SEC tells SC

The Nagaland State Election Commission on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the local body elections in the State have been notified and will take place on 16 May, 2023.


According to Livelaw, the apex court directed that the election schedule notified by the Commission should not be disturbed at any cost.


A bench comprising Justice SK Kaul, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Justice Aravind Kumar was hearing a petition filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and women rights activist Rosemary Dzuvichu challenging the Nagaland Assembly’s resolution dated September 22, 2021 exempting operation of Part IXA of the Constitution of India, which mandates 33% reservation for women in Municipalities and Town Councils of the States.


It may be recalled that the State of Nagaland told the Supreme Court in April 2022 that the State Government has resolved to implement 33% reservation for women in local body elections following a consultative meeting attended by all stakeholders.


Thereafter, the apex court on 29 July, 2022 directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to complete the election process by January, 2023. However, the election process was notified. As per an affidavit filed by the State Election Commission in January, 2023, the State Government had asked the SEC to provide an election schedule. In response, it said two options for notifying the election program were provided by the SEC.


Previously, the bench had asked the State Election Commission to notify local body elections as soon as possible and to file the formal notification before 14 March, 2023. As a result, the Commission notified the election on 9 March, 2023. The counsel for the State Election Commission informed the bench that the Model Code of Conduct has come into force.


Advocate General for the State of Nagaland, Mr KN Balgopal urged the bench to pass orders to ensure that no organization or individual can obstruct others from voting impeding the mandate of free and fair elections. He claimed that such impediments are typical based on his previous experiences. Considering the same, the bench directed:


“The State Election Commission and the State are to make necessary arrangements to ensure free and fair elections… Any authority/citizen in breach thereof would be in breach of orders of this Court.”


In conclusion, it was reported that with respect to women’s participation in elections, Justice Kaul reckoned: “Society is egalitarian in many ways, but some of these issues regarding gender still remain a sensitive issue…” while Senior Advocate, Colin Gonsalves remarked that it was not the society, but the inaction on the part of the Government that is to be faulted.


However, Justice Kaul opined that women have to also take initiative and contest elections.


Mokokchung Times

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