The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to consider listing a plea of the Karnataka government against the high court verdict asking the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold elections to 198 wards of the ‘Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’ (BBMP).
A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli was informed that the 5-year term of the civic body expired in September last year and there was an urgency as the poll process had been stayed.
“Send the file in my chamber. We will see at 1.00 pm,” the CJI said when advocate Nizam Pasha said that a bench headed by the then CJI S A Bobde (since retired) had stayed the high court verdict of December 4, 2020 asking the SEC to hold the election within six weeks.
The state government had moved the top court challenging the high court order which directed the BBMP polls as per delimitation notification of September 23, 2020, instead of the 243 seats as mentioned in the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Third Amendment Act (2020).
The government said the high court judgment nullified the unanimous will of the state legislature, made up of the representatives of the people and had amended the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act of 1976 to increase the number of wards in Bengaluru to 243.
The state government said the high court had handicapped efforts to “improve urban governance in one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in India”.
The increase in number of wards was necessitated by the fact that the population and demographics of the city have undergone vast changes since 2009 when the number of wards was increased to 198, the plea said.
After the 5-year tenure of the incumbent BBMP Council had expired in September last year, the state government appointed a senior IAS officer as administrator of the civic body. PTI