The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has petitioned the Supreme Court to direct the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold municipal elections in Delhi in accordance with the original schedule before the three municipal corporations’ terms expire in May 2022.
The petition asks the Supreme Court to order the SEC to conduct the municipal elections in Delhi as soon as possible, as per their earlier proposal, in a free and fair manner. The municipal elections are scheduled for April, with the tenure of the three civic bodies expiring in May.
“The subject matter of this writ petition is the Government of India’s brazen influence over the State Election Commission and its shameless tampering with the conduct of Municipal Elections,” the plea alleges. The AAP claims in the suit that the State Election Commission was preparing for the Delhi Municipal Elections and had indicated that they will be held in April 2022 through several notices, notifications, and orders.
According to the petition, it raises an important question about whether the State Election Commission can be swayed by an unofficial communication from the federal government to change the schedule of municipal elections that the commission was otherwise fully prepared to schedule and conduct at the specified time.
The SEC issued a letter on March 9 saying that the general election for the three municipal corporations of Delhi would be placed in April 2022, according to the petition. It went on to say that a press conference on the subject will be held later in the day, at 5 p.m
. In this connection, the AAP has indicated in the appeal that it received a message from the Lt. Governor of Delhi stating that the Government of India intended to approve legislation to unite the trifurcated Municipality of Delhi, which is conveyed by way of a press note exactly half an hour later.
“By being the sole cause of the Municipal Elections’ postponement, the Government of India is clearly attempting to suffocate the independence of the State Election Commission and stifle free and fair Municipal Elections in Delhi,” the request continues.
Using the decision in Digvijay Mote v. Union of India, (1993) 4 SCC 175), the AAP has argued that such insufficient reasons for postponing elections, making timely elections before the end of the Municipal Corporations’ constitutionally mandated term effectively impossible, clearly jeopardise the sanctity of impartial elections.