Karnataka HC reserves order on BBMP polls

Karnataka HC reserves order on BBMP polls after govt attributes delay to Covid-19

Credit: DH file photo.

The High Court of Karnataka has reserved its order on a batch of petitions for holding BBMP elections immediately. 

The BBMP polls should have been held by now as the term of the last council ended on September 10, 2020. The state government has delayed the elections citing the amendment to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976, which increased the number of BBMP wards from 198 to 243 given the rise in Bengaluru's population. The government says a delimitation exercise has to be conducted in view of the increase in the wards. 

On Wednesday, Advocate General (AG) Prabhuling K Navadgi responded to the contentions raised by the counsels for petitioners, including the State Election Commission (SEC). 

He contended that a validly constituted legislation can be struck down only on three limited grounds: for lacking legislative competence, violating the fundamental rights and if found to be 'manifestly arbitrary'. In the absence of such a finding, the government cannot be directed to ignore a law validly enacted by the state legislature, he argued. He, however, clarified that the state had no objection to the prayer for holding timely elections but maintained that the delay was only due to Covid-19. 

According to the petitioners, allowing a fresh delimitation process would further delay the elections as new ward-wise reservation and voter lists would have to be prepared. A senior counsel appearing for one of the petitioners stated that 2021 being a census year, the delimitation exercise would cause even more delay.