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Karnataka State Election Commission Files Plea in SC Against HC’s Oder to Extend Deadline for Delimitation Exercise for Local Body Elections

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Supreme Court Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: November 6, 2022 at 18:17 IST

On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition from the Karnataka State Election Commission challenging the Karnataka High Court‘s order giving the State Government an additional 12 weeks to finish the process of delineating constituencies and granting reservations to SC, ST, OBC, and other categories for all Taluk and Zilla Panchayats in the State of Karnataka.

While setting the case for next week, the bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath did not issue a formal notice but instructed the petitioner to serve a copy to the State of Karnataka.

“Karnataka’s Election Commission and the state of Karnataka are at odds. It is a poor image,” Justice Vikram Nath kept a verbal record of the hearing.

Justice Bose said, “We are looking at the wider picture, whether the constitutional authority may come to the court.”

In accordance with the Delimitation Notifications dated 30.03.2021 issued by the State Election Commission & the Reservation Notification dated 01.07.2021 issued by it, the State Election Commission has requested that the High Court’s order be stayed and that permission be granted to the State Election Commission to proceed with the elections to all Zilla & Taluk Panchayats.

The High Court had granted the State Government twelve weeks to finish the process of completing the Delimitation of Constituencies and fixing the Reservation to all the constituencies of Zilla & Taluk Panchayats, the Election Commission noted in its appeal.

At that time, the High Court had taken into account the State Election Commission’s argument that the terms of the Zilla and Taluk Panchayats had come to an end.

The Commission further argued that even though 17 weeks had passed since the interim order of 24.5.2022, the State Government had taken no action and had instead requested a further extension of six months, citing the Delimitation Commission’s request for an extension of time and the changes made to the Karnataka Gram Swaraj & Panchayat Raj Act, 1993.

According to the petition, the Zilla and Taluk Panchayats have been run by administrators for the past 12 weeks.

If more time is given without any conditions, the State Government will ask for another extension. If, in the interim, the results of the legislative assembly elections are announced, the elections for the Zilla and Taluk Panchayats will be put off indefinitely.

The bench decided to list the case for next week and requested that the petitioner give the respondents a copy of the petition.