SC Tells Petitioner to Approach Karnataka HC for Ward Delimitation Matter

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 27 August 2022 at 16:39 IST

The Supreme Court advised those who are challenging the exercise of delimitation of wards under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahnagar Palike (BBMP) for the upcoming polls to approach the Karnataka High Court first.

The bench, comprising of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and JK Maheshwari, opined that the HC has jurisdiction to hear the challenged delimitation exercise.

Having heard learned counsel, we are of the view that it would be appropriate for the High Court to consider the pleas on their merits in accordance with the law.

This matter was brought before a single judge of the Karnataka High Court earlier this month, but the court referred it to the Supreme Court for clarification.

The top court has passed two orders directing that the polls be conducted as per the pre-limitation scenario in one case and calling for data to be collected towards delimitation before notifying the polls in the other.

A batch of petitioners before the High Court also argued that the notification splits wards into multiple portions that fall within the territorial boundaries of other constituents and is contrary to Section 7(1)(b) of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Act.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court had directed the Karnataka government to notify within a week ward-wise reservation lists for the pending BBMP polls so that the State Election Commission could take steps to constitute newly-elected local bodies within a fixed time frame.

The court has ordered to complete the process of delimitation and notification of the BBMP Polls within two months. The Court had in December 2020 stayed an order of the Karnataka High Court directions regarding the announcement of BBMP elections within 6 weeks.

During the time of CJI Bobde, the notice was issued to the State Election Commission and the original petitioners before the High Court, M Shivaraju, Abdul Wajid, and Ravi Jagan.

Although the Karnataka HC on December 4, 2020 upheld the validity of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Third Amendment Act, 2020 (Amendment Act), raising the number of wards in Bengaluru city to 243.

However, it was held that it would not apply to elections of those corporations where elections had become due prior to the coming into force of the amended provisions.

On appeal filed by the High Court, it has asked the government to proceed with elections in 198 wards despite the fact that the Amendment Act increased the number of wards to 243.

“In other words, the High Court has directed the State to conduct elections in a manner which is contrary to a validly and unanimously enacted piece of legislation,” the petition said.

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