SEC seeks HC nod to hold elections to 198 wards
The State Election Commission (SEC) has sought direction from the Karnataka High Court to go ahead with the process initiated to hold elections to 198 awards of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) by ignoring the government’s notification of increasing the number of wards to 243 following a recent amendment to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act.
The SEC has filed an application in this regard in the PIL petition, filed by the Commission on January 23, 2020, seeking directions to the government to complete the process of delimitation of 198 wards and fix caste-based reservation in the wards.
Pointing out that valuable public time and money has already been spent since July this year for holding elections by preparing revised voters list to the 198 wards after the government on June 23 notified delimitation of 198 wards as per the court’s direction, the SEC has said that the amendment to the KMC Act cannot result in postponement of elections to be held within the time limit mandated in the constitutional provisions.
The SEC has brought to the court’s notice that after amending the KMC Act on October 3 to increase wards up to 250, the government on October 14 issued a notification fixing 243 wards for the BBMP and set up a delimitation commission, giving it six months to complete the process of carving out 243 new wards and fixing their boundaries.
As the process of delimitation of the new wards, fixation of caste-based reservation for the wards to-be-created, and preparation of new voter list would take at least 12 months. the SEC said not holding elections as per the process already undertaken would defeat the constitutional mandate of timely holding of elections to the BBMP. The SEC has pointed out that elections to the BBMP could not be completed before expiry of its term, on September 10, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi adjourned further hearing on the petition till November 10, asking the government file its response.