HC dismisses petition challenging DDC Reservation of Offices of Chairpersons Rules

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Feb 25: High Court has dismissed the petition seeking quashment of District Development Council (Reservation of Offices of Chairpersons) Rules, 2021 to the extent of Rule 4(1) providing for allotment of seats to different District Development Councils on the basis of total population of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes in descending order and Rule 4 (2) whereby the allocation of seats of Chairperson to be reserved for women shall be made on three point roaster system after arranging then alphabetically.
After hearing Senior Advocate Gagan Basotra with Advocate Navdeep Kour for the petitioners—Nadeem Sharief and others whereas Senior AAG HA Siddqui and AAG Aseem Sawhney for the UT of J&K, Justice Rajnesh Oswal observed, “perusal of Rule 108-A would reveal that it provides for delimitation of constituencies for the purpose of election to District Development Councils and SO 330 dated 24-10-2020 inserted the Sub-Rules that provided for the reservation to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe and women for the purpose of election to the District Development Councils except Sub-Rule (3F) that provided that the roaster for women as prescribed in Rule 3C and 3D shall also be applicable to elections to the Chairpersons of District Development Councils”.
“During the pendency of the present writ petition, the respondents have issued SO No 24 dated 22.01.2021 by virtue of which Sub Rule (3F) of Rule 108 A of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Rules, 1996 has been omitted so the challenge thrown to Rule 4(2) of SO 13 of 11.01.2021 being contrary to Sub Rule (3F) of Rule 108-A becomes inconsequential and meaningless particularly when the SO 24 dated 22.01.2021 remains unchallenged”, High Court said.
Justice Oswal further observed, “so the only issue that remains for consideration of this court is with regard to the allotment/reservation of the seats for Schedule Tribes and Schedule Caste category to the Chairman/Chairperson of the District Development Council”, adding “this issue too is without any legal basis because as already stated that the Rule-108-A to which Sub-Rules (3A) (3B) (3C) (3D) (3E) and (3F) have been appended/added/inserted deals with the delimitation of constituencies of a District Development Council and election of members of District Development Councils”.
“Chapter VIII-B deals with the election of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson and the SO 13 dated 11.01.2021 provides for reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women to the offices of Chairpersons of the District Development Councils. So both SO 330 of 24.10.2020 and SO 13 of 11.01.2021 operate in different fields because SO 330 of 24.10.2020 deals with the election/reservation of seats for SCs, STs and women for members of District Development Councils and SO 13 of 11.01.2021 deals with the election/reservation for SCs, STs and women for offices of Chairpersons of District Development Councils”, the High Court said.