HYDERABAD CIVIC BODY POLL GETS SUPREME COURT CLEARANCE:

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THE Supreme Court has allowed Andhra Pradesh government to go ahead with the process for conducting elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) with ‘creamy layer’ OBC candidates contesting from the reserved constituencies.

   A bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam in its interim order put on hold Andhra Pradesh high court order. The high court had stayed the poll process after various groups alleged discrepancies in reservations and voters lists.

   The bench said that the elections to the civic body will be conducted without depriving the right of creamy layer within the OBCs to contest from 50 reserved seats. However, it will be subjected to the outcome of the final order of the high court, it said.
   “Let candidates take the risk”, the bench said, adding “election will go on subject to the outcome of the result of the writ petitions.”

   The bench further said, it was difficult to identify and indicate in the voters list about the creamy layer.

 "Whether creamy layer or no creamy layer, the backward classes will vote. When there is no question of excluding them from voters list how can they be prevented from contesting?” the court asked.

   Petitions are pending in the high court alleging discrepancies in reservations and in voters’ lists. The delimitation of certain divisions is also under challenge in the high court. The apex court passed the order on the plea of state government. Attorney General G E Vahanvati appearing for the government said, how can the entire election process be stopped on the issue of creamy layer? There is no rule to exclude creamy layer from contesting the elections, said Vahanvati.
   Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for some persons on whose petitions the high court had stayed the polls, however, said the objection to holding the polls without excluding creamy layer was being raised because “it will lead to caste-based elections”. Backward classes means socially and educationally backward classes and not classes based solely on castes, Mr Salve said.

The high court had restrained the state government from issuing the poll notification for elections to the 150 wards.

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