When rule violates Act...

Unequal wardwise population may stall Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike polls

When rule violates Act...

The Government issued the draft notification on June 4, before specifying the ward list through another notification on June 17. The June 4 notification says, “While doing the delimitation exercise of BBMP, a ward has to be carved out with an average population of 30,000 (plus or minus 20%) in the core areas and as exception minimum population in respect of wards in newly-added peripheral areas can be relaxed to 20,000.”

Interestingly, the KMC Act does not permit two criteria as mentioned in the rule. The Act says, “The ratio between the number of councillors to be elected from each ward and the population of that ward shall so far as practicable be the same throughout the City.”

The Act suggests there should be uniformity in the population-wise division of the wards. It also guides that the number can vary but the difference should not be vast when it says ‘... shall so far as practicable be the same throughout the city.’ In this regard, the Act says the State government can make rules for the purposes of forming wards.
Core and peripheral areas

But the Act has no mention about setting two criteria as has been mentioned in the notification dividing the City into a core area and a peripheral area.

Former City mayor, P R Ramesh says the government intentionally created confusion in the draft notification so that the elections can be delayed further.

“We are not against the elections, rather we want it because we are in favour of an elected body to govern the city administration. But this contradiction between the draft rule and the Act can halt the election process. Probably this is what the government wants,” alleged Ramesh.

A senior IAS officer in the government has also confirmed that there is contradiction between the rule and the Act. “If someone approaches the court raising objection over this contradiction, the entire election process can be halted,” the officer said.

‘No contradiction’

When contacted In this regard, the Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department Thangaraj said there is no contradiction in the Act and the Rule.

“The Cabinet took the decision on the basis of the 2001 population. In 2001, there was enormous growth in the core areas whereas this was not happening in the peripheral areas. But things have changed now in 2009. The peripheral area is growing rapidly. There will be a slight difference between the ward-wise population in core areas and peripheral areas,” says Thangaraj.

But Ramesh contends that even if 2001 was the parameter for carving out the wards, there cannot be two criteria in the rule. Because, the Act clearly says that the ratio between population of the ward and the number of councillors, as far as practicable, be the same throughout the City.

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