Court orders by-polls in 13 Delhi municipal wards

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the state Election Commission to conduct by-elections in 13 municipal wards in the national capital within three months.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath gave the directions to the poll panel while hearing a PIL filed by 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.

The PIL 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 state Election Commission told the court that it needed Rs.21 crore to conduct these elections.

The Delhi government also informed the court that it was in the process of evaluating the request by the state Election Commission for the release of funds and manpower for holding the by-elections.

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 legislators in the Delhi assembly elections. Four more resigned after the February 2015 assembly polls. No by-elections have been held to fill these vacancies.

Seven wards in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, four in North DMC and two in the East DMCare currently without councillors.

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