The Karnataka High Court Friday directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to declare elections to 198 wards of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) “as expeditiously as possible” within six weeks from the date of final reservation notification published by the state government.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty delivered the verdict on separate public interest ligitation petitions filed by the SEC, two former councillors M Shivaraj and Abdul Wajid, and Ravi Jagan, a resident of Kalyan Nagar.
The latest direction is a setback to the State government which had notified increasing the number of wards to 243. Even as the court upheld the constitutional validity of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Third Amendment Act (2020) which led to the rise in the number of wards, it was noted that “It will have to read it down by holding that it will not apply to elections of corporations which ought to have been held as per Article 243 of the Constitution, before the Amendment Act came into force.”
Earlier, the SEC had opposed the delimitation exercise pointing out that preparations had already begun for the polls to 198 wards. The five-year tenure of the incumbent BBMP Council had expired in September after which the state government appointed senior IAS officer Gaurav Gupta as the BBMP Administrator.
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