SC to examine if MPs, MLAs can vote in municipal bodies

SC to examine if MPs, MLAs can vote in municipal bodies

Only councillors have this power: Petition by ex-prez of CMC

SC to examine if MPs, MLAs can vote in municipal bodies

The Supreme Court has agreed to examine if MPs and MLAs have the right to vote in the no-confidence motion or general meetings of a municipal body in Karnataka.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Prafulla C Pant on Friday issued notices to Karnataka, the deputy commissioner of Bidar, the commissioner of Basavakalyan City Municipal Council and others on a petition filed by Shahajaha, who was removed as president as the CMC in a no-confidence motion on January 28, 2015.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate S M Chandrashekhar and advocate Nishant Patil contended that section 42(9) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1964, stipulates that MPs and MLAs do not have the right to vote as they do not qualify to be councillors. Only elected members have the right to participate in the meetings of the municipalities, they submitted.

Shahajaha, along with Abdul Gaffar, a former member of Basavakalyan CMC, has challenged an order of the Karnataka High Court dated October 8, 2015, which validated the no-confidence motion passed against them during the special general meeting of the civic body. Both the petitioners were removed from their posts after two crucial votes were cast against them by Bidar MP Bhagwant Khuba and Basavakalyan MLA Mallikarjun S Khuba.

The petitioners also argued that the High Court had failed in appreciating Article 243 R of the Constitution of India, that makes a distinction between nominated and elected members and their right to cast vote.

“The two nominated members (MLA and MP) did not have the right to vote in the said meeting. In the absence of the votes cast by the MLA and the MP, the votes would not have satisfied the criteria of two-third majority resulting in the continuance of the petitioner in the capacity of president of the municipal council,” their petition claimed.

The petitioners urged the top court to stay the High Court judgment and quash the January 28, 2015, resolution, claiming that it was “illegal and in complete disregard of the provisions of the Karnataka Municipalities Act 1964”.

A similar controversy occurred in Bengaluru last year. The BJP had secured a simple majority in the 198-ward Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council. But taking advantage of the fact that MPs, MLAs and MLCs can vote in the mayoral elections, the Congress allied with its one-time rival JD(S) to keep the BJP at bay. The BJP cried foul and even moved the High Court but had to contend with sitting in the opposition.