New Delhi, Jan 29: The Delhi High Court today directed the State Election Commission to hold within three months bypolls in 13 wards of civic bodies in the capital saying "filling up the casual vacancies of the councillors of the municipal wards cannot be postponed any longer".
A bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini directed the Delhi government and others to comply with the constitutional mandate by conducting the by-elections within a timeframe.
"The Government of NCT of Delhi shall make available the manpower sought by the State Election Commission (SEC) as well as the required funds within four weeks from today for conducting the elections for filling up the casual vacancies in terms of the provisions of DMC Act.
"The respondent No.1/SEC shall take the necessary further steps and complete the by-elections to all the casual vacancies existing as on today in the three municipal corporations of Delhi within three months thereafter," the bench said.
It asked that when both the Delhi government and State Election Commission have expressed their willingness to conduct the by-election, then why the polls have been not held till date. "... Though both the SEC and Delhi government expressed their readiness to conduct the by-elections, it is un-understandable as to why the elections could not be conducted to fill up the casual vacancies till date," the bench also comprising Justice Jayant Nath said.
The court's order came on a PIL, filed by 20-year-old law student Sanjana Gahlot, on bad civic condition in her village with drain water overflowing on all streets, filth spread everywhere and the entire village suffering due to foul smell.
Seven wards in South Delhi Municipal Corporation, four in the north and two in the east are currently without councillors. The bench said that except stating that the delimitation of wards is in progress, no justifiable reason could be shown by the SEC and Delhi government for their failure to conduct the elections.