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SC refuses to stay HC order on UP districts

June 04, 2004 18:03 IST

In a setback to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay an order of the Allahabad high court quashing a decision of the state Government to scrap nine districts and four commissioner divisions created during 1995-97 by then chief minister Mayawati.

A bench comprising Justice Ruma Pal and Justice B N Agrawal, however, issued notice to respondents on the Special Leave Petition filed by the state challenging the May 21 verdict of the high court directing continuance of the districts and divisions.

Appearing for the state, senior advocates L M Singhvi, Mukul Rohtagi and Rajeev Dhawan made earnest pleas for stay of the high court order.

When the court said that prima facie the high court has given a 'very well reasoned' order not requiring its stay, the counsel said the decision to scrap the districts was taken on January 30 and the high court had stayed the same on February three.

During the intervening period of four days, several officers have been transferred and it would be inconvenient for the administration if the high court order was not stayed, they pleaded.

The court would have nothing of it as it said, "You transfer people on a drop of a hat so it does not matter what action you had taken during the intervening period of only four days as the districts were created way back during 1995-97."

The state government, on January 13, had abolished four divisions -- Devi Patan, Basti, Mirzapur and Saharanpur -- and disbanded nine districts Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Shrawasti, Mahamaya Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Kaushambi, Auriya, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Chandauli and Ambedkar Nagar.

The high court on May 21 had quashed the notification scrapping nine districts and four commissionarates created by the previous Mayawati regime on the ground that the order was discriminatory, arbitrary and violative of article 14 of the Constitution.

The disbanding of the districts had led to state-wide agitation marred by sporadic violence.

The government in its SLP stated before the Supreme Court that the decision to scrap the districts was taken in larger public interest as well as in the interest of the financial and administrative well being of the state.

It said that the power to create, alter, abolish divisions, districts and tehsils and sub-divisions was vested exclusively with the government under the UP Revenue Act.

"Due to the abolition of the districts and divisions, no loss has been caused to the public or to the revenue and on the contrary huge sum has been saved from being wasted, which would be used in the welfare of the general public and for developmental works," the government said.


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