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HC issues notice to CCP over nominated councillors

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A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice M.S.Sonak and Justice M.S Jawalkar today directed that notices be issued to Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP), State Government, Kabir Makhija and Kishore Sastry on the petition filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues challenging the appointment of the two Nominated Councillors at the CCP. The Court has directed them to file their replies by 16th July and has fixed the matter for hearing on 19th July.

Adv. Aires Rodrigues in his petition has stated that the appointment of Kabir Makhija and Kishore Sastry as nominated Councillors was in total breach and violation of the CCP Act as both did not meet the requirement to be nominated as Councillors not having the necessary special knowledge or experience in the required fields.

Adv. Rodrigues has further stated that the CCP while proposing to nominate Kabir Makhija and Kishore Sastry as Councillors had falsely stated that they were experts in the field of Engineering and Urban Administration respectively.

Adv. Rodrigues has also pointed out that the bio-data submitted by Kabir Makhija and Kishore Sastry does not make any mention of them having any expertise in Engineering and Urban Administration while Kishore Sastry in his biodata has stated that his educational qualification is I.T.I in Electricals while Kabir Makhija states that besides a diploma in Civil Engineering he is a Sportsman and did modeling at the Lakme Fashion Week.

Stating that the provision for nominated Councillors was so that the CCP could get the proficient advice and guidance of experts in the designated fields and not to be misused to politically rehabilitate former Councillors, Adv. Rodrigues in his petition has drawn the attention of the High Court that Kishore Sastry had lost the recent CCP Polls held in March while Kabir Makhija’s ward having been reserved for women was contested by his sister who was also defeated.

Adv. Rodrigues in his petition has also stated that the intent of the law to create posts of nominated councilors was to have persons with vast experience in the fields specified so that they could through their long experience and enhanced knowledge contribute their ideas at meetings and deliberations of the Corporation.

Stating that Panaji Mayor on 7th April moved a note to the Commissioner proposing the names of Kabir Makhija as expert in Engineering and Kishore Sastry as an expert in Urban Administration for nomination as Councillors, Adv. Rodrigues in his petition has stated that immediately on 9th April the then CCP Commissioner wrote to the Director of Urban Development proposing the names of the two for being nominated as Councillors and that on 28th April a notification was issued nominating the two as Councillors at CCP.

Adv. Rodrigues has also submitted that in the absence of CCP inviting applications for being nominated the entire process of nominating Kabir Makhija and Kishor Sastry was murky and untenable.

Adv. Rodrigues in his petition has also challenged the very validity of Section 9 (1) (b) of the CCP Act which makes a provision to nominate up to five Councillors having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration, engineering, architecture, archaeology, heritage etc, while drawing the attention of the High Court that this provision was violative of Article 243R of the Constitution of India which enables a non-elected member to be given a representation in a Municipality only if he has special knowledge or experience in Municipal Administration.

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