Sureshwar Thakur,J. -
(1.) The writ petitioners claim rendition of a mandamus upon the respondents concerned, for, setting aside impugned Annexure P-1, wherethrough, wards No. 1,2 and 3 of Tung Panchayat, become, included in Paddal ward, and, whereupon there is purported wreaking of discrimination, upon, the writ petitioners, who rather belong to Bhiuli ward, ward whereof, previously was a part of Tung Panchayat, whereupon, the, creation of ward nomenclatured as Paddal, is, claimed to be unwarranted, as, there is lack of inter-se geographical contiguity/proximity inter-se paddal and Bhiuli.
(2.) It is also contended in the writ petition, that, the mandate of clause 4, Chapter-II ( Delimitation and Reservation of wards) of the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Election Rule, 2015, provisions whereof stand extracted hereinafter, become infringed, in as much, as, digression thereof becomes aroused, rather arising from lack of geographical compactness, inter-se, Paddal and Bhiuli, and, also from lack of inter-se contiguity, inter-se, the area(s) falling within Bhiuli, and, those falling within Paddal, given, rather the stream/rivulet severing both Paddal and Bhiuli, making the latters' geographically disjunctive.
"4 Limit of wards:- (1) As far as practicable, each ward shall have equal population, throughout the municipal area and each ward shall be geographically compact and contiguous in areas, and shall have recognizable boundaries, such as roads, paths, lanes, streets, stream, canals, drains, Bridges, Railway lines or such other marks or boundaries which can be easily distinguished."
(3.) The respondents contested the afore espousals, raised in the writ petition, and, the substratum thereof becomes enumerated in paragraph 2 of the reply, paragraph whereof stands extracted hereinafter:-
2. That the contents of Para No. 2 of the Civil Writ Petition are admitted to the extent that Govt. of H.P. has given the status of Municipal Corporation to the Municipal Council Mandi and the draft proposal of Delimitation of wards of Municipal Corporation Mandi has been issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Mandi. It is also admitted that the petitioners belongs to Bhiuli area which was the part of Gram Panchayat Tung and during the delimitation of Municipal Council Mandi ward No.1,2 and 3 of Gram Panchayat Tung has been included in new Municipal Corporation Area in Ward Paddal. Rests of the contents of this para are wrong, false and incorrect, hence denied. It is submitted that wards No.1,2 and 3 of Gram Panchayat Tung has rightly been included in Paddal ward and has been done so within the framework Municipal Corporation Act and Rules. Further it is submitted that as per the Municipal Corporation Act, Minimum population of 2500 is required (Census 2011) for form a ward in the Municipal Corporation. Many of the existing wards of erstwhile Municipal Council had to be re-arranged and some had to be merged with the erstwhile Panchayat area to meet the minimum population criteria of a ward of Municipal Corporation. This was done as per census enumeration blocks of census 2011 keeping geographical contiguity in mind. The census enumeration blocks have mostly been kept intact as each block has detailed population of male, females, Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes which is required for making the reservation roaster and breaking these enumeration blocks would required conducting detailed Field Survey keeping in order to ensure that there is no discrepancy in the reservation roaster letter. Also it is submitted that as per the Act, the population data has to be as per 2011 census and any Field survey if done has to be done keeping in mind 2011 census and not the population today. During Delimitation process, the total population of proposed ward Nela as per census 2011 was 1974 including Muhal Nela, Shilha Kippar, D.P.F Kangni, Chadyana, Dudar & Bharaun and 552 population adjoining to the above Muhal from Paddal ward of Municipal Council Mandi was taken into ward Nela to make population 2526 as there was no other option. The remaining population of Paddal ward left out 1778 and to make its population 2500, the nearest area of Bhiuli (Ward No. 1,2 & 3 of Gram Panchayat Tung) was included in the Paddal ward as it was geographically contiguous. Further it is submitted that the enumeration block of census 2011 was taken as basic unit to formulate wards for proposed Municipal Corporation Mandi so that there is no discrepancy in the population criteria and hence the objection raised by the present petitioners are not based on facts and hence are not sustainable in the eyes of law."