The first bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu had granted liberty to the petitioner one name R Parthiban to file a fresh petition against the notification.
The petitioner challenged the government notification dated May 24, 2019, is not in compliance with the 50% reservation allotted to the women candidates as per the Tamil Nadu Municipalities Act (Amended) 2016. Parthiban’s counsel argued that only 84 seats should have been reserved for the women candidates.
“However, in the notification, the authorities have given 89 seats for the women candidates and 79 seats for the men. It is clear discrimination shown against men and illegal as well as arbitrary,” the petitioner argued.
However, the judges were of an opinion that the 50% reservation for women cannot restrict authorities to provide more number seats above the 50%. The Acting Chief Justice MN Bhandari observed that nowhere in the gazette notification has been said that more seats cannot be given to the women after reserving 50% of wards for them.
The bench also pointed out that though 50% of wards have been reserved for women, as per Article 15 there should not be any discrimination based on gender and more wards also could be allotted.
The petitioner also had relied upon Article 15 of the Constitution claiming that men are discriminated against providing fewer seats. Justice PD Audikesavalu made a note about Section C of Article 15 that nothing in this article shall prevent the state from making any special provision for women and children.
According to the counsel of Chennai city Corporation, with the decision to allow the wards with odd numbers to the women candidates, they are getting more seats than men.
On recording the submissions, the bench granted liberty to the petitioner to file a fresh petition. Therefore, the petitioner submitted that he is withdrawing his petition to file a fresh one challenging the procedure followed by the Corporation in reserving wards for women.
According to the Gazette Notification dated May 24, 2019, out of the 200 wards of the corporation, 16 each was allotted to the SC general and SC women. Hence, the petitioner wanted to divide the rest of the 168 seats reserving 84 for men and 84 for women. As the corporation reserved 89 seats for the women, the petitioner has challenged the same before the HC.