BJP moves HC against voting rights of MPs, legislators in Palike

BJP moves HC against voting rights of MPs, legislators in Palike

BJP moves HC against voting  rights of MPs, legislators in Palike

Five women corporators from BJP on Tuesday approached the High Court seeking directions to restrain the regional commissioner (Bengaluru Division) from holding the elections for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor of Bengaluru.

The elections are likely to be held by September 11.The corporators M Pramila, R Pratima, Deepa Nagesh, Umavati Padmaraj and Kumari Palanikant have also made an alternative prayer to direct the regional commissioner not to take into account the votes cast by the MPs, MLAs and MLCs during the mayoral polls, till the disposal of the petition.

The petitioners have questioned the constitutional validity of the Section 7 of the Karnataka Municipal Corpora- tions Act, 1976, which enables the MPs, MLAs and MLCs to vote in the mayoral elections. They have said that the said section of the KMC Act violates Article 243(R) of the Indian Constitution by treating MPs, MLAs and MLCs on a par with councillors, who are directly elected by voters, for the purpose of electing the mayor and deputy mayor.

They have also sought directions from the court to declare the said section of the KMC Act as unconstitutional.

They contended that elections for the posts of the mayor, deputy mayor and the chairman and members of the standing committee in the Palike has to be done only on the basis of the votes cast directly by the elected corporators and not on the votes of the MPs, MLAs and MLCs among others.

During the hearing, senior counsel Ashok Haranahalli representing the petitioners, contended that there are 62 MPs, MLAs and MLCs who are eligible to vote in the mayoral polls. These members do not have the rights to vote in the municipality elections.  However, these members are given the right to vote to decide the mayor and the deputy
mayor in the municipal corporation.  

Different priorities

To this, Justice Raghavendra S Chauhan questioned how petitioners could equate municipalities with municipal corporations as the priorities and requirements of these regions are different.  The bench observed that MLAs and MPs are not mere ornaments.

He said that these members are elected by the citizens and the intelligence of the Indian voters must not be underestimated. On a lighter vein, the bench observed drawing parallel to the petitioners’ contention of not giving voting rights to the MLAs and MPs is like, “A father of a bride who has the right to chose the venue of the marriage and the caterers but has no right to choose the groom for the bride.”

Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar argued that the petitioners are politically motivated and it is a very sensitive matter questioning the validity of the provisions of the said Act. The Advocate General said that it has been 22 years since Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act has been amended and the provisions of the Act
are incorporated as per the 74th amendment.
The bench directed the Advocate General to file objections and adjourned the next hearing till September 8.
DH News Service

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