Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court has set aside the orders of delimitation of Nabha and Summerhill wards of Shimla MC.

The orders were passed by a Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sabina and Justice Satyen Vaidya on two separate petitions filed by Congress Councillor Nabha Simi Nanda and Rajeev Thakur, resident of Summerhill. 

The Advocate General opposed the petitions and submitted delimitation of the wards has been conducted mainly on the basis of population.

The petitioner Simi Nanda submitted that Lower Phagli-I and Lower Phagli-II of Nabha Ward were proposed to be merged in Phagli Ward in violation of the principles of equal distribution of area population-wise. Instead of considering the objections raised by the petitioner Divisional Commissioner Shimla, proposed the delimitation of Nabha Ward by amalgamating the Lower Phagli area.

The court observed that the total population of Nabha Ward was 4,387 as per the census of 2011, whereas, Tutikandi and Phagli Wards had a total population of 5,639 and 4,518, respectively. Thus, there was no occasion to reduce the population of Nabha Ward, which was already having the least population out of all the three wards

In the matter pertaining to the delimitation of Summerhill, the petitioner Rajeev Thakur submitted that the process of delimitation carried out by the respondents has failed to achieve the object of the amendment as the population of different wards has not been brought at par.

“While creating Ward No.5 Summerhill area and Ward No.6 Boileauganj area, the respondents have failed to include Boileauganj Bazar’s area in the Boileauganj Ward to create continuity.

The Court observed that the census of 2011, reveals that the population of Summerhill Ward was 5391 and of Boileaugnaj Ward it was 3955. Thus, the population of Boileauganj Ward is much less than the Summerhill Ward and at the time of delimitation, an effort could have been made to bring the population of both the wards at par, as far as possible” stated the petitioner.

The Court found that DC has failed to consider the factual aspect of the submissions raised by the petitioners. The DC was required to take into consideration the fact that equal population as far as practicable in each ward be maintained and each ward was also required to maintain geographical compactness and contiguous in areas and recognizable boundaries.

He was more influenced by the fact that no ECI polling stations should transgress the boundaries, which however does not find mentioned in the Rules.

The Appellate Authority i.e., Divisional Commissioner, Shimla, while dismissing the appeals filed by the petitioners, has also failed to consider this aspect of the matter.

The Court found that Impugned orders passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, and Divisional Commissioner, Shimla, qua delimitation of Ward No.11- Nabha (new Ward No.12-Nabha) and Ward No.5- Summerhill (New Ward No. 6-Summerhill), are liable to be set aside and both the petitions have been allowed.

The matters have been remand back to the Deputy Commissioner with directions to decide the objections raised by the petitioners afresh, in accordance with the law, after appreciating the material available on record.

In another matter, the Court dismissed a petition filed by Virender Thakur who challenged the reservation of Summer Hill Ward of Shimla MC for Woman (General).