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HC seeks Centre's response on plea for amending DCB poll rules

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought response of the Centre and Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB) on a plea seeking amendment of election rules of the body with respect to reservation of wards for women.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the Ministry of Defence and DCB, seeking their replies by January 19, the next date of hearing.

The petition was filed by Deepak Rai, who is not eligible to contest in the upcoming elections for DCB as his choice of ward or seat has been reserved for a woman candidate according to existing rules.

In his petition, filed through advocate Shekhar Nanavaty, Rai stated that currently out of the eight seats or wards, one is permanently reserved for SC/ST while the remaining seven are for general category.

The one-third reservation, as provided under DCB election rules, is calculated from the total eight seats which comes to three, his petition has said.

However, the reservation is made out of the seven seats which Rai contends is an "arbitrary and illogical procedure".

"The said one-third reservation of women out of eight seats in the Delhi Cantonment tantamount to overlapping of reservations of two classes over one another, as the seat reserved for SC/ST is again being taken into account for the reservation of women by including that seat in the total number of seats," the petition said.

According to the board's election rules, the ward or seat reserved for SC/ST is only for male members and not women.

The petition said only two seats should be reserved for women by calculating one-third out of the seven.

The petitioner also contended that in the next elections, the seats for women are reserved out of the four which were unreserved earlier and thus, "a male member once elected is nearly sure that he can only contest the elections after a decade which affects his working and also gravely affects the public interest".

"That due to such a provision the public is suffering at large as the members are not inclined to work for their good," the petition has said.

Rai has sought amendment of the election rules of the Board as well as a stay on the polls till the petition is decided.

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