High Court admits PIL seeking ouster of SEC chief

Failure to conduct GP polls even after the expiry of term questioned

High Court admits PIL seeking ouster of SEC chief

The petitioners, Gram Panchayat Hakkottaya Andolana, T R  Raghunandan and others have contended that articles 243K and 243E of the Constitution, and the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act endowed the power and cast the obligatory duty upon the State Election Commission to conduct Gram Panchayat elections.

The Commissioner knew the full details of when the five-year terms of the incumbent elected bodies of the Gram Panchayats were coming to a close, before which he was mandatorily required to conduct the elections, the petitioners contended.

However, the State government issued a notification directing all Deputy Commissioners in Karnataka to appoint administrators exercising the powers vested under Section 8 of Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act.

The petitioners argued that the power given to the Deputy Commissioner is statutory and ‘individuated’ power and not a power that can be applied en masse, to a group of Gram Panchayats.

The petitioners prayed for the dismissal of the SEC Commissioner for failing to carry out elections in accordance of the provisions of article 243E(1).  Furthermore, they sought the quashing of the order by the state government directing the Deputy Commissioners to appoint administrators in their respective districts.  In addition, they have prayed the Court to declare the calendar of events for the elections and direct the SEC to follow the same.

Power to farmers

The Court has directed the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) to file a counter affidavit following a contempt petition for complying with the High Court order dated March 23, 2010 to supply additional power to the farming sector.

During the hearing of the complaint by G R Mohan, a city-based advocate, the division bench headed by Justice K L Manjunath directed the KPTCL to file the affidavit regarding compliance with the earlier order of the court.

On March 23, 2010, the Division Bench headed by Justice V Gopalagowda had directed the KPTCL and State government to supply additional two hour power to the farmers during summer and supply uninterrupted power to the students preparing for the exams.

However, the petitioner had moved the Court once the load shedding resumed after Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections. In the contempt petition, the petitioner stated that the State government had failed to comply with the order of the court and civil contempt can be initiated against KPTCL.

KPTCL on Friday, in its submission, replied that it had complied with the order of the court and supplied uninterrupted power to the farmers and students. Before adjourning the matter, the court directed the KPTCL to file the reply in writing.

Disclosure of identity

The Court has ordered issue of notice to the State police in connection with a public interest litigation seeking directions to restrain the police from disclosing the identity of the accused by distributing their photographs to the media before
trial.

The petitioner K Kiran Kumar, a city-based advocate and party in person had moved the High Court against the practice saying the police is doing this to gain publicity in order to gain appreciation, promotion, incentive and award from their department.

Pointing out that unless the guilt is established in a court of law, the accused is legally entitled to be presumed as innocent, the petitioner submitted that the Police seems to have lost sensitivity to human rights violation as the disclosing of identity will affect the life of the accused even after his acquittal, if the prosecution failed to establish the guilt of the accused.

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