The Supreme Court of India on Friday (January 24, 2020) said that elections in Rajasthan would be conducted as per the delimitation notifications released by the Rajasthan Government by mid-April. Rajasthan Election Commission was asking the court for 3 months more time for conducting elections in light of the ongoing legal battle.
A Constitutional bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde delivered the above mentioned order on a special leave petition (SLP), filed under Article 136 of Constitution of India, 1949, by AAG M.S. Singhvi, challenging the order of the Jodhpur High Court which put a stay on Rajasthan Government’s notification on delimitation dated15th-16th November to 2nd December 2019.
The State Government had initiated a delimitation/alteration exercise vide notification dated 12.06.2019 in the State of Rajasthan in accordance with Section 101 of the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 (hereinafter referred to as the Act of 1994'). The said exercise included creation/ redemarcation/ reorganization of the boundaries of the gram panchayats and panchayat samitis.
On 15-16.11.2019, notification numbers 2989 to 3021 were issued finalizing the Alteration/delimitation process for Gram Panchayats under consideration and notifications (12 of 75) [CW-17993/2019] No. 3022 to 3044 issued for alteration/delimitation process for the Panchayat Samitis.
Rajasthan election Commission had scheduled to conduct 11,139 Gram Panchayat elections in 4 phases. 9,171 Gram Panchayats elections were scheduled in the first 3 phases and 1954 Gram Panchayats elections were schedule to be held in the 4th phase.
On 13th December, 2019 a Jodhpur High Court bench comprising of Justice Indrajit Mohanty and Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati put stay on Rajasthan government’s notifications dated from 15th -16th November to 2nd December 2019, while considering 85 civil writ petitions filed before it.
On 8 January, 2020 the Supreme Court removed the stay on notifications which were put by the Jodhpur High Court. AAG M.S. Singhvi by filing Special Leave Petition under article 136 of Constitution in Supreme Court, challenged the order of High court.
On 17th January, 2020, Supreme Court denied to entertain any petition challenging Delimitation/Alteration of gram samiti and panchayat samiti.
On 24th January, 2020, Supreme Court bench headed by CJI S.A. Bobde passed order to conduct elections as per All notification issued by Rajasthan Government and it also directed Rajasthan Election Commission to conduct election by 2nd week of April 2020. Rajasthan Election Commission asked for time of 3 months to conduct elections. Commission said that it will not be possible for it conduct election because it requires 1 month time to prepare voter ID cards and there was also a state board exam to be conducted.
Out of 9,171 Gram Panchayat elections that were scheduled to be conducted in the first 3 phases, approx. 6000 Gram Panchayat elections were held and rest were put on hold by the commission. 4th phase of elections were also put on hold.
This order of Supreme Court eliminated 1 month of prevailing confusion among people regarding the fact that - whether elections will be held or not. Deputy CM Sachin Pilot welcomed the order of the Supreme Court. Contenders for election also expressed their joy on such a decision.