In a major victory for AAP, the Delhi High Court on Saturday stayed the re-election of the six members of the Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) that was scheduled to happen on February 27th. The High Court was listening to a petition filed by two BJP councillors, Shikha Roy and Kamaljeet Sehrawat, and it has further issued notices to the Lieutenant Governor, Mayor and the MCD in the matter. The HC further ordered that the ballot papers and the CCTV footage of the election process that was undertaken on Friday be kept safely.

Speaking on the matter, Mayor Dr Shelly Oberoi and AAP MLA Ms Atishi expressed happiness at the decision of the Hon’ble High Court and added that BJP’s desire to have their demand for the result of the election being declared in their favour was ruled out by the court. The court further added that it would examine the powers that are given to both the Mayor as well as the Municipal Secretary within the purview of the DMC Act.

Mayor Dr Shelly Oberoi who was present for the High Court hearing emerged out of it and said that the order of the HC is a personal victory for her and the Aam Aadmi Party as it ordered a stay on re-election. She further said that everyone saw how the BJP councillors in a planned manner staged a personal attack on her and the AAP councillors just before the results for the Standing Committee were to be declared on Friday. She added that the videos of the incident that happened on Friday are there in public domain and for everyone to see, and elaborated that the BJP councillors came onto the stage to fatally attack her and that she was forced to run out from the House to save her life. She termed the incident as “shameful for the whole country” and said that she was hopeful that as this case is further heard in the High Court, the truth of the matter will be there for everyone to see.

AAP Senior Leader and MLA Ms Atishi also said that the court order was a victory for the party as the BJP was hoping that the HC would endorse an illegal demand of the party regarding the counting of votes, but the court refused to accept their unconstitutional and illegal demand. She further said that the BJP had approached the HC with the desire that the court accept their demand but this did not happen. The court eventually said that it will examine the matter and see what powers the Constitution of India gives to the Mayor and the Municipal Secretary.

She elaborated that from the very first day this is exactly what the AAP had been demanding, and said that the BJP needs to abide by the laws of the constitution and that it cannot do as it pleases. The DMC Act states it very clearly that the Mayor is the Presiding Officer and has the power to decide which vote is valid and which vote is invalid, she said, and added that the Mayor had very clearly stated in the House on Friday that after the entire ruckus created by the BJP councillors where they stole the ballot box and ran away with it, the Mayor does not have any basis to declare the result of the voting process that took place for the members of the Standing Committee. The Mayor clearly said that the sanctity of the electoral process was destroyed by the act of the BJP councillors and therefore she has no other option but to order a revote.

Ms Atishi also informed the reporters that the election process to choose the Standing Committee members will now be held at a later date. Earlier the elections were scheduled to be held on February 27th, but now since the High Court has deferred the polls, they will take place later according to the date selected by the court. She added that the Aam Aadmi Party is very happy with the decision of the High Court as if you go through the case details and read the demand of the BJP, the party had wanted the High Court to rule in its favour, but this did not happen. She explained that the basis on which the BJP wanted a result in its favour was that the Municipal Secretary had provided them certain information about the voting process. But she further said that unfortunately for the BJP, the Constitution of India does not give such powers to the Municipal Secretary. It does not encourage hooliganism in the House and stealing of ballot papers. The elections, on whichever date, they take place will happen according to the rules of the DMC Act and AAP is happy that the elections will take place under the supervision of the High Court.

She also said that AAP was “very pleased” to see the BJP approach the court as until now what the country had seen was that wherever the BJP loses an election they try to take back control through hooliganism and violence and by making a mockery of the democratic process.

Ms Atishi also said that the party was scheduled to meet the Delhi Police Commissioner today, but as Mayor Dr Shelly Oberoi was present at the High Court today, the meeting could not be held and another appointment would be sought very soon. “We had a scheduled meeting with the Delhi Police Commissioner today but it could not be held as the Mayor Dr Shelly Oberoi was at the High Court for this matter. So, now we will ask for another appointment to meet the Delhi Police Commissioner. Tomorrow is Sunday, so we are unsure at the moment whether the meeting will be held tomorrow or the day after. This is not just a matter about an attack on the Mayor of Delhi, which on its own is a very serious matter. But this is about an attack on a woman inside the House, which is considered to be a sacred space according to the constitution. If lawmakers are not safe inside the House, then how will democracy function in this country,” she said.

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