HYDERABAD: The Telangana government and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) on Saturday informed the Hyderabad High Court that despite best of their efforts to raise the number of wards from 150 to 200, they had to stop the exercise midway due to fast-approaching deadline for elections to the civic body.

Telangana advocate-general K Ramakrishna Reddy told this to a bench of Justice Nooty Rama Mohana Rao and Justice Anis when the latter took up the cases filed by Greater Hyderabad Congress OBC cell chairman M Nagesh Mudiraj and two others, who challenged the decision of the authorities in first raising the number of wards and then abruptly bringing it down to 150 again.

“It is true we tried to raise the number. Meanwhile, the election commission had asked us to link voter cards with Aadhaar cards. Though Supreme Court later said it was not essential, considerable time was spent on that exercise and we are left with little time to complete the process of raising the number of wards by fixing new boundaries to each and every ward. Hence, we have decided to revert to the old number”, the AG said.

The counsel for the petitioners termed the abrupt decision of the authorities as “arbitrary and illegal”. They have evolved a criterion for creating new wards in view of the increase in population. Later, they took a U-turn and retained the number of wards despite increase in population, the counsel said.

Ramakrishna Reddy, however, told the bench that they were not averse to increase the number of wards provided the court extends the elections deadline. “Spare us for one more year from fulfilling the constitutional obligation of conducting elections, we will certainly raise the number”, the AG said. The judge reserved his orders.

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Source: TOI-Hyd