SC to consider Karnataka govt's plea on BBMP polls

SC to consider Karnataka government's plea on BBMP polls challenging High Court's order

Karnataka HC had also directed for holding the BBMP polls as expeditiously as possible by publishing the election programme within the maximum period of six weeks

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up on Friday a batch of petitions, including one by the Karnataka government challenging the High Court's order for holding BBMP polls on 198 wards as per delimitation notification of September 23, 2020, instead of on 243 seats.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian would consider the three separate petitions filed by Karnataka government and Baskar and Dr B R Ambedkar Dalita Sangharsha Samiti against the High Court's judgement of December 4.

Karnataka HC had also directed for holding the BBMP polls 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 the prevalent pandemic, the petitioners claimed.