ULB polls: State faces contempt charges

The State Election Commission has moved the High Court of Karnataka requesting it to initiate contempt proceedings against the State government for not submitting the reservation list for the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) polls.

On Tuesday, a Vacation Bench comprising Justices Anand Byrareddy and B Manohar heard the application filed by the State Election Commission (SEC) and reserved the order in this regard.

In the first week of November, the SEC had filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking directions to the State government to provide it with the reservation list for elections to 209 ULBs (out of a total of 214), including seven city corporations, at the earliest. The Court then directed the government to furnish the same within 15 days.

The government, however, had said the final list on reservations would be submitted by December 17, 2012.

During the hearing, Advocate General S Vijayashankar agreed that the State government had earlier promised to submit the list by December 17.

“However, the government has received over 2,500 objections from the general public for the draft reservation list published for the ULB polls.

These objections have been received between December 4 and 12. The five days’ time, which we got to review these objections, was not sufficient. The review process is still on and we request the court to grant at least two more weeks to finish the same,” he said.

The government advocate also sought four weeks’ time for the election timetable to elect presidents and vice-presidents for the zilla panchayats.

The Bench, however, took objection to the government submission and questioned its request for extension of time when it had earlier said the reservation list and election timetable would be ready by December 17.

Advocate K N Phanindra argued for the election commission and said the SEC has requested the government for the reservation list for the ULB polls several times in the last one year.

The ULB elections are scheduled for February-March 2013. The government is saying it would be more appropriate to announce the reservation list in March 2013, based on the fresh census figures of 2011.

However, with the Assembly elections due in May 2013, the government has a hidden agenda to postpone the ULB polls by another year. If this happens, there will be no sanctity for the constitutional provisions, he said.

The Bench has reserved the order.

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