Poll panel to take govt to court over ULB polls

Says government delaying quota list, without which elections cant be held

 The State Election Commission (SEC) is filing a writ petition in the High Court of Karnataka seeking directions to the Karnataka government to provide it the reservation list for elections to 209 urban local bodies (ULBs), out of the total 214 in Karnataka, at the earliest.

The State government is yet to submit the reservation list to the poll panel, despite repeated correspondence since April 2012. The term of these ULBs is set to end in February/March 2013.

The SEC told a press conference on Monday that it had taken action to file the petition in a day or two.

C R Chikmath, State Election Commissioner, said, “As per Sections 7 and 11 of The Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, the power of reservation of seats vests with the State government. Several meetings have been held and letter correspondences made in this regard with the urban development department and the chief secretary.

“In October 2012, we also brought the issue before the governor and explained the delay caused at the government level. However, there has been no action from the government side,” he said.

Chikmath also cited the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Kishan Singh Tomar case. “The State government will alone be responsible for the violation of the apex court order, if it happens so,” he said.

The list of ULBs includes eight corporations, 44 city municipalities, 94 municipalities, 68 town panchayats and the number of wards in these ULBs is 5,269. Except for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and four other urban local bodies, the others have to go for a fresh mandate as their term is getting over in February/March 2013.
Officials with the SEC said as far as they were concerned, the preparations for the polls were in full swing.

“We have written letters to the deputy commissioners to complete the election preparations and are set to conduct division-level meetings. We need to conduct elections between December 15 and January 15. Otherwise, the deputy commissioners will become busy with the Assembly elections due in April/May 2013.

“We need to be in possession of the reservation list at least by the first week of December, so that we can stick to the election time table for the urban local bodies,” said an official.   

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