Nathu vadla, a small village of Gujarat with hardly 1000 population flashed in news recently. The coming panchayat election in this village was to be conducted on the basis of 2001 data. The village has at least 100 Scheduled Castes people and one seat was to be reserved as per law, but the census data has not been modified and in 2001 the population of SC was nil in the village, the election in 2013 was to be conducted on the basis of 2001 census. In a shocking judgment, Gujarat High Court stayed elections in Nathu vadla village saying that it is ‘mockery of democracy’.
It seems that Gujarat government is ‘vibrant’ only in allotting land to industrialist and it becomes stagnant when it comes to empower the weaker sections. Though, this particular judgment is dealing with anomaly in one village, there may be more such Nathu vadlas, where the ‘babudom’ might not have bothered to modify the data as per latest census.
here, is the judgement:
IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
SPECIAL CIVIL APPLICATION NO. 369 of 2013
PARMAR PRAVINBHAI MULJIBHAI....Petitioner(s)
STATE OF GUJARAT & 3....Respondent(s)
MR JV BHAIRAVIA, ADVOCATE for the Petitioner(s) No. 1
DS AFF.NOT FILED (N) for the Respondent(s) No. 3 4
GOVERNMENT PLEADER for the Respondent(s) No. 1
MR AMIT J SHAH, ADVOCATE for the Respondent(s) No. 2
NOTICE SERVED BY DS for the Respondent(s) No. 1 2
CORAM: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE JAYANT PATEL and
HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE MOHINDER PAL
Date : 17/01/2013
(PER : HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE JAYANT PATEL)
1. Draft amendment granted.
2. It prima facie appears that as per the petitioner, the population of the Scheduled Caste in Nathuvadla village is 121 as against the total number of voters of 1099. Therefore, if the said proportion is considered read with the notification issued by the State Government for reservation of the seats dated 11.05.2012, there has to be at least one seat reserved for in the gram panchayat for scheduled caste.
3. The learned AGP Ms. Thakore appearing for the State Authority concedes to the position that if the population based on the census of 2010 is considered, one seat may be required to be reserved but in her submission, such census are not published as that of 2010. She submitted that as per the requirement of the Gujarat Panchayat Act read with the constitutional provision for making reservation of the seats, the data or the population figures should have been published. She submitted that the data which has been published are based on the census of 2001 and as per those data, the population of scheduled caste is shown as nil in the village in question and therefore, no seat is reserved for scheduled caste or scheduled tribe in the particular village.
4. Whereas on behalf of the State Election Commissioner, Mr.Amit Shah while supporting the stand of the State Government, contended that the requirement for reservation is that the population data are published and the basis of reservation would be the data so published. If the population data is not published even if made in 2010 by the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, even if voter list exists, after considering the censure of 2010, the reservation cannot be made since such data are not published.
5. In our prima facie view, it would be a mockery of democratic principles if the elections are to be held in 2013 from amongst the voters whose names are there up to the last date of preparation of the voters list, in any case, after 2010 and may be up to 2011, but the seats would be allotted on the basis of the so called census data published as back as on the census of 2001. The country has gone by 10 years period and so is for the village. In the year 2010, the population is already recorded, the data are provisionally published by the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs through office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India and the same is reflected in the website of Census India, copy whereof is produced during the course of the hearing. The population data, in any case as per the census of 2010 are available with the State Government, therefore the reservations or the allotments of the seats are required to be made accordingly after considering such data. If those persons who have become citizen after 2001 and some of them may have become voters during the period from 2001 to 2010 are ignored for the purpose of making reservation or allotment of the seat including that of woman candidate, it would frustrate the basic intention and object of the relevant constitutional provision for giving appropriate representation to the respective category of the voters or the citizen, may be scheduled caste, may be scheduled tribe, may be other backward class or may be between the women candidates amongst the general category. Therefore, in our prima facie view, such an action would run counter to the democratic principles of allowing appropriate representation to the appropriate category of the voters or the citizen, as the case may be. However, as the larger issue for election of various gram panchayats in the State is not before us and the present petition is restricted to challenge qua the election of Nathuvadla gram panchayat, taluka Dhrol, district Jamnagar, the relief could be considered qua the election of gram panchayat of Nathuvadla only.
6. Hence, the following order
(a) By interim order, it is directed that the election of Nathuvadla gram panchayat, taluka Dhrol, district Jamnagar shall remain stayed of one seat which may ultimately be required to be reserved for persons belonging to scheduled cast whose population does exist in the village.
(b) The aforesaid will be with the additional direction that the election process and ultimate declaration of the result of the remaining seats of Nathuvadla gram panchayat, taluka Dhrol, district Jamnagar shall also be subject to the final order which may be passed by this Court in the present proceedings.
(c) It would be open to the election authority to identify the seat for whose election is stayed after considering the population in the respective ward of that particular village.
7. D.S. permitted.