CJI-headed bench also issues notices to State Election Commission and HC petitioners
The Karnataka government managed to score a technical brownie point when a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Friday stayed the December 4 order of the Karnataka High Court directing early elections to BBMP. The High Court order of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka had directed finalization of BBMP ward reservations within a month of its order and elections to the civic body’s existing 198 wards within 6 weeks thereafter.
The Supreme Court bench also issued notices to the State Election Commission and the original petitioners before the High Court, former corporators M Shivaraju and Abdul Wajid, and Ravi Jagan.
The High Court had by its order upheld the validity of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Amendment Act, 2020, which had raised the number of wards in Bengaluru city from 198 to 243. However, the HC had held that the amended KMC Act would not apply to elections of municipal corporations where elections had become due prior to the amendment to the KMC Act.
In its special leave petition to the SC through advocate Shubhranshu Padhi, the Karnataka government has questioned the HC’s directive to the government to proceed with elections to the existing 198 wards, despite the fact that the amended KMC Act had increased Bengaluru city’s wards to 243. The SLP says, “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.”