PANJIM: Goa Sate Election Commission (GSEC) has admitted before the High Court of Bombay at Goa that reservation for women in the municipal wards is not in accordance with the mandate of the Indian Constitution in all municipalities.
During the hearing on petitions challenging the Goa Municipalities (Amendment) Act 2021, reservations and delimitation of municipal wards, GSEC submitted that “to some extent” constitutional mandate has not been followed while deciding on reservations.
The High Court thereafter directed GSEC to reply by Wednesday whether it will ask the State government to correct the discrepancy regarding the reservation and also to reply about going ahead with the election even if the government does not make the correction.
On the second consecutive day on Tuesday, the court held a full-day hearing on the pleas as the matter is reportedly being heard on a fast-track basis.
As all the petitions are being heard jointly, the High Court was further informed that several municipalities such as Bicholim and Cuncolim among others have lesser wards reserved for women contrary to the mandatory reservation of 33.33 per cent. Similarly, various municipalities have less than 27 per cent wards reserved for OBC.
During the hearing, it was also submitted that Ward No 4 and 7 of Margao Municipal Council were reserved for ST in 2015 and this year too, DMA stated that reservation has not changed in view of concentration of population of the particular community. However, in the case of Sanguem, the DMA submitted that concentration of population is not necessary for rotation and reservation.
The Advocate General on being asked by the court said he is unaware as to why DMA took a different stand.
Sources told Herald that DMA has submitted its affidavit before the High Court without consulting the AG. No official statement has been released or submitted to the court in this regard.
The hearing on the 11 petitions will continue on Wednesday.