Home CITY UPDATES BBMP elections: Karnataka poll panel wants urgent listing in SC

BBMP elections: Karnataka poll panel wants urgent listing in SC

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Supreme Court

In contravention of law, Bengaluru has been run by unelected official for over a year, says SEC counsel

Karnataka poll panel counsel urges SC Registrar that the case, tentatively listed for October 21, not be postponed further

BENGALURU:

After nearly 388 days under ‘babu raj’, there is still no sign of elections to the BBMP Council. In fact, three months back in July this year, TheBengaluruLive had written that bureaucrat-weary Bengalureans should not expect ward-wise elections for at least one and a half years. Now, even the patience of the Karnataka State Election Commission seems to have run out as it has demanded urgent listing of the matter before a Supreme Court judge.

Also read: Bengalureans, don’t expect BBMP elections for at least 1.5 years!

Since last year, the SLP filed before the Supreme Court is stuck before the registrar and has not moved even as some of the parties are yet to submit their counter-affidavits.

Also read: BBMP elections: SC grants 4 weeks’ time for counter-affidavits

BBMP’s former corporators M Shivaraju and Abdul Wajid — both of whom had served as floor leaders in the BBMP Council — had approached the Karnataka High Court urging early civic elections. On December 4, 2020, the then Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court had ordered the state government to conduct the overdue BBMP elections within 6 weeks after issuance of the final ward reservations.

Also read: HC orders ‘overdue’ BBMP polls

Thereafter, the Karnataka government on December 10, 2020 filed an SLP whereby the HC order was stayed by the Supreme Court on December 18, 2020. Further, on April 19, 2021, the Registrar directed the filing of counter-affidavits.

Considering the huge delay in the hearing of a matter concerning the interests of all Bengalureans, the State Election Commission represented by advocate Sahil Tagotra has requested urgent listing before a Supreme Court judge.

In his letter dated September 29, 2021 to the SC Registrar, Tagotra has referred to the Registrar’s earlier directive –“Registry to process all the matters for listing before the Court after completion of a period of four weeks, whether counter-affidavit is filed or not, as further opportunity stands declined.”

The SEC advocate’s letter, a copy of which is available with TheBengaluruLive, says: “I had thereafter moved an application seeking the listing of the matter on July 27, 2021, and the matter has since been shown to have been tentatively listed on August 9, and September 7, 2021, but has not been listed.”

BBMP elections: Karnataka poll panel wants urgent listing in SC

Tagotra’s letter goes on to say: “The matter is now shown to be tentatively listed on October 21, 2021, and I only seek to request that the matter may not be deleted from the list and may be placed before the Court for hearing.”

GROUNDS FOR URGENCY

Listing the reasons for the urgency, the SEC advocate’s letter says the matter pertains to the elections to BBMP, which should have been held on or before September 10, 2020. The letter notes that the High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru, by the impugned judgment dated December 4, 2020, had directed that the elections be conducted forthwith. However, the elections have not been held since the impugned judgment was stayed by the Supreme Court on December 18, 2020.

According to the SEC counsel, the urgency is on account of the fact that under Section 100 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, an administrator can be at the helm of the affairs of BBMP only for a period of 6 months. However, it has already been over a year since the interim administrator, an unelected official, has been running BBMP, Tagotra notes.

Further, in terms of the liberty granted by the Registrar, Respondent No. 3 (the State Election Commission) has already filed its counter-affidavit. The listing of the matter has, in any event, been directed notwithstanding the status of such filing, Tagora notes.

The letter ends by saying that “it is respectfully prayed that the Registrar may allow the present mentioning and list SLP(C) Nos. 15181-83/2020 for hearing before the Court on October 21, 2021.”

Go and Vote: Issued in Public Interestbengaluru

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