File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the city government on an application of the state Election Commission, seeking funds and resources to hold by-elections in 13 wards.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath impleaded Delhi government as a party in the case and sought response from it by September 21.
Filing an application in an ongoing plea that had sought to hold by-elections in 13 wards and to fill casual vacancies in the councillorship in all the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD), the commission said it needed Rs 21 crore to conduct these elections.
The commission is keen to conduct the elections immediately but it depends on external sources for manpower, materials and funds.
About 4,500 ground-level personnel would be required for two weeks, 50 Delhi government officers who would be appointed as returning officers, election observers, and expenditure observers for a period of two months.
The commission said that for election it also needed about Rs 21 crore which has to be provided on behalf of MCD by the Delhi government.
Earlier, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by a 20-year-old law student Sanjana Gahlot after she saw the poor condition of her village in west Delhi and later came to know that there was no councillor to look after the civic issues.
A councillor is the most important elected representative in a ward. He/she addresses issues such as sanitation, cleanliness, development, the PIL stated.
The councillors of nine wards had resigned from their position in December 2013 after being elected as MLAs in the Delhi Assembly elections. Four more resigned after the February 2015 Assembly polls. No by-elections have been held to fill the vacancies.
Effluents were overflowing from the drains all over the streets. With filth spread here and there, the entire village was reeking of a foul smell, the plea said, adding that the "state Election Commission is duty-bound to fill these vacancies as soon as possible".
"Democratic and constitutional rights of the public to elect and choose their representative... has been snatched away by the state Election Commission, NCT of Delhi. It did not fill casual vacancies or follow the mandatory provisions of law," the PIL said.
Seven wards in the south municipal corporation, four in north and two in the east are currently without councillors.