Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath government today got a reprieve on the issue of local body elections, with the Supreme Court staying the Allahabad High Court’s order to hold urban body elections in the state by January without reservation for Other Backward Classes or OBCs. A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha asked the State Backward Classes Commission to submit a report by March 31 on the political backwardness of OBCs for quota in local bodies.
The state, which challenged the High Court order, told the Supreme Court that a separate OBC commission has already been constituted and will complete its work by March.
In December, the High Court had blocked reservation for OBCs in urban body elections, quashing the draft reservation notification. The bench directed the Election Commission to issue the election notification immediately.
The order came after a petition objecting to the state government’s move to issue a provisional list of seats reserved for mayors of 17 municipal corporations, chairpersons of 200 municipalities and 545 nagar panchayats.
The petitioners demanded that the state government must follow the Supreme Court’s formula and constitute a commission to study the political backwardness of OBCs before determining reservation.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that the state would reserve OBCs in local bodies and conduct a survey as per Supreme Court guidelines. Elections will not be held before the provision of reservation and if necessary the state will approach the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court order, he said.
Support of OBCs is crucial for BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
In 2021, the Supreme Court directed that states conduct a “triple test survey” to collect contemporary data on OBCs before deciding on political quota percentages. “Social and economic backwardness does not necessarily coincide with political backwardness,” the apex court said.