HC upholds single judge's order on ZP polls

Passing final orders on an appeal by the SEC, a division bench also upheld a single Judge order directing the state government to identify  "most (politically) backward among the backward classes" for reservation and suggesting December 10 for starting the poll process.

The bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice A S Bopanna had on November 23 directed the SEC not to issue the schedule for the panchayat polls till today.
The SEC had filed the appeal seeking advancement of poll dates as the one suggested by single Judge Justice Ashok B Inchigeri, overlapped with Census 2011.

In its order today, the bench directed the government to apply its mind to see whether the "politically advanced" classes could be excluded from the reservation list within two weeks time as stipulated by justice Inchigeri in his November 22 order.

If the government was unable to carry out this exercise of modification of the reservation list, the elections could be held be as scheduled (from December 10) as per the present reservation list, the bench observed.

"We hereby direct the state government to examine the issue afresh, and before the calender of events for the Panchayat elections is issued, to exclude at least those castes which are predominantly "politically advanced" from the lists of backward classes," the judges said.

If the state government felt some inability in modifying the list within the time frame laid down by the single judge, the SEC could commence the electoral process in terms of directions recorded by the Single Judge, so that the results could be announced before January 16, 2011, and the deadline met, the bench ordered.

The Single Judge while disposing of a petition challenging the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act (amended ordinance) 2010 which restricts reservation of seats for SCs/STs and OBCs in Panchayat Raj institutions to 50 per cent, had asked SEC to consider excluding the "politically advanced" backward classes from the reservation list as per the representations given by the petitioner.

The judge granted two weeks time to the government to consider the representations and initiate action and also directed commencement of election process by December 10 and its completion within a month.

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