Apex court frowns on resolution over ULB elections

Apex court frowns on resolution over ULB elections

The Supreme Court on Wednesday criticised the manner in which the Karnataka Assembly passed a “unanimous” resolution directing the State Election Commission not to go ahead with its schedule on holding urban local bodies polls on March 7.

A three-judge bench presided over by Justice G S Singhvi questioned the move made by the State Assembly on February 5, just four days after the apex court gave the green signal to Election Commission to conduct the polls on the basis of the 2001 census.

“How can they do it? This is the grossest contempt of the Constitution. Under the guise of public representation, they would violate the Constitutional mandate,” the bench said.

Court’s observation

The court’s strong observations came while dismissing two petitions challenging the decision to conduct polls for Town Panchayats, City Municipal Councils, Town Municipal Councils and the City Municipal Corporations on March 7 without giving 50 per cent reservation to women despite statutory provisions.

“Once the election process is set in motion, we cannot interfere with the process. Any order will impede the process,” the bench said.

Senior advocate U U Lalit, appearing for Dalitha Hindulida Alpasankhyatha Samithi, submitted that the court’s order should not be at the detriment of half of the population.
“We as citizens must not be denied what has been contemplated in the Constitution as the Karnataka Municipality Act gives 50 per cent reservation,” he pleaded.

Advocate K N Phanindra, representing the State Election Commission, contended that only guidelines were submitted by the State government and not the list.

The bench, comprising Justices H L Gokhale and Ranjana Prakash Desai, however, seemed not convinced with the arguments and dismissed the petitions, saying any order now would obstruct the election process which had already been set in motion.  

The bench also said, “the questions raised in the petitions are left open to be agitated at the appropriate time.”

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