Seek clarity from SC: HC to petitioners

The High Court, on Tuesday, refused to entertain a public interest litigation petition seeking withholding of urban local bodies (ULB) elections, and instead, directed the petitioners to seek clarifications from the Supreme Court on its own directions.

The Dalit Backward and Minority Committee and others had filed the petition, appealing to the court to direct the State Election Commission not to conduct the ULB polls as per 2007 reservation list.

The Supreme Court had ruled that the State Election Commission was free to hold ULB polls as per the existing reservation list, if the State government does not furnish the revised list by February 4, 2013.

Since the State government failed to furnish the revised list, as per Apex Court order, the Election Commission will hold elections to urban local bodies on the basis of reservation list prepared in 2007 (based on the 2001 census).

Senior advocates Ashok Haranahalli and Ravi Varma Kumar contended on behalf of petitioners that if the elections are conducted based on 2007 list, women will lose out on reservation.

Following the Supreme Court direction, the State government has amended the Municipalities Act by introducing 50 per cent reservation to women, in place of earlier 33 per cent. The 2007 list is based on the earlier reservation provision, he said.

“There is a vast difference between the population in 2001 and at present. If the reservation list is based on old census, it will not do justice to backward communities. The elections can be held on the interim census report of 2011. Justice will also be not done to women’s reservation. Can the commission go against the spirit of women’s reservation,” Haranahalli questioned.

A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice K Sreedhar Rao and Justice S Abdul Nazeer observed that those interested in appealing against the Supreme Court order will have to do so before the said court itself.

The petitioners had questioned the relevance of February 4 deadline for furnishing the list to conduct elections. The Supreme Court is best suited to clarify questions with respect to its directions. The petitioners are free to appeal before the Supreme Court, the bench said.

Government advocate K N Phanindra submitted it would cause inconvenience to the Election Commission if poll dates were constantly delayed. The elections have to be conducted before II PU exams commence. Also, certain ward committees are already functioning beyond their term, he said.

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