Disposing of petitions in the course of the day, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said that “the stay on the Karnataka High Court order is revoked”. The apex court also said the state government could approach the high court for seeking extension of time to execute the ruling of the division bench.
“We (Supreme Court) do not want to monitor any municipal election. It is up to the state government to decide,’’ the bench observed during arguments, adding that “the learned counsel for the State Election Commission (SEC) suggests they would not be in a position to conduct elections in accordance with the revised schedule”.
Appearing for the SEC, advocate Anitha Shenoy said that the poll body would require at least two to three months before revised electoral rolls are prepared. Besides, she emphasised that the civic elections cannot be held in view of the SSLC examinations scheduled to be held in March and April.
Although the State government had earlier maintained before the Supreme Court that it will abide by its order, the BJP leadership in Bangalore was not keen on holding polls anytime now. On December 8, 2009, the high court upheld the SEC’s order to hold the elections on February 21, but quashed a state government order in the form of guidelines reserving seats under each Assembly segment to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
Questioning the high court order, senior advocates Shanti Bhushan and Anil Diwan and advocate E C Vidyasagar, appearing for petitioners M Ramesh, former president of Yelahanka CMC, and K Dewan, submitted that the poll should be stayed as it was violating the basic provisions of the Indian Constitution.
While Bhushan referred to the possibility of a general candidate representing the SC or ST majority ward, Diwan said it was against the principle of natural justice if the wards with the highest number of SC or ST population go without representation in the municipal body. “The Scheduled Castes in the wards were omitted due to the policy of selecting SC wards in the Assembly segments,’’ Diwan said.
Bhushan and Diwan argued that it was because of the Supreme Court stay order on the high court ruling that the state government failed to revise the electoral rolls to give proper representation to SCs and STs in the municipal body.
They requested the bench to withdraw the Janaury 6 order that facilitated the SEC to conduct the municipal polls in accordance with the government notification by staying the double bench order of the Karnataka High Court. The State government was prepared to reconsider the provisions of reservation in accordance with the suggestion given by the affected parties, they said.
“The Supreme Court has directed the SEC to conduct the elections and if elections are conducted, reserved seats would be determined based on the method adopted by the State authorities.
“The applicant may lose his chance to contest the election this time,’’ according to the application filed by advocate E S Vidyasagar on behalf of Ramesh, a resident of Bangalore and a former councillor.