SC gives notice to Karnataka SEC on BBMP polls

SC gives notice to Karnataka SEC on BBMP polls

Credit: DH File Photo

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Karnataka's State Election Commission on a plea by the B S Yeddiyurappa government against the High Court's order for BBMP polls in 198 wards, in contrast to 243 seats as mandated under 2020 amendment into law.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian sought a reply from the SEC and M Shivaraju and others whose plea had prompted the HC to deliver its judgement on December 4.

Besides the Karnataka government, Baskar and Dr B R Ambedkar Dalita Sangharsha Samiti also filed separate petitions against the High Court's judgement.

The HC had also directed to hold the BBMP polls in 198 wards as expeditiously as possible by publishing the election programme within the maximum period of six weeks.

The petitioners, for their part, questioned the validity of the HC's directions, saying the state legislature has already passed the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2020 to increase the seats for Councillors from 198 to 243 by a notification on January 14, 2020.

This was done to give due representation to Scheduled Castes and other marginalised communities in the municipal council of a large and growing city like Bengaluru, they pleaded.

The petitioners also contended the HC passed "erroneous" judgement on a writ petition filed by State Election Commission and others. The SEC neither had any locus standi nor authority to file a writ petition against validly enacted legislation. It had rather no choice but to give effect to the amendment, they said. The SEC, for its part, claim the Delimitation Commission had yet not submitted its recommendation for dividing the corporation into 243 wards and the exercise would take considerable time to complete.

The term of BBMP corporation expired on September 10, 2020 not due to inactivity of the state but in view of prevalent pandemic, the petitioners claimed.