SC to hear BBMP poll case on April 25; as CJ of Karnataka HC, Justice Oka had ordered early civic elections; Karnataka govt had got stay from SC
There’s a new sense of hope among aspirant BBMP corporators on two counts: first, the Supreme Court has decided to hear the issue of the long-pending Bengaluru civic elections on April 25, and secondly, one of the members of the two-judge SC bench which will hear the case in SC court hall No. 3 is none other than Justice Abhay Shreenivas Oka. Significantly, Justice Oka, in his earlier avatar as Karnataka High Court Chief Justice, had on December 4, 2020 ordered early BBMP elections. The two-judge bench also comprises Justice AM Khanwilkar.
On December 4, 2020, adjudicating the matter as CJ of the Karnataka HC, Justice Oka had directed finalisation of BBMP ward reservations within a month of its order and elections to the civic body’s existing 198 wards within 6 weeks thereafter. Subsequently, on December 18, the Karnataka government managed to get a stay on the HC order from a Supreme Court bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
Also Read: HC orders ‘overdue’ BBMP polls
The Karnataka High Court had by its order upheld the validity of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations 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 had 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.
On March 29 this year, Chief Justice of India NV Raman had directed the SC registrar not to delete the matter from listing. Senior Supreme Court counsel SN Bhat, who is representing Ravi Jagan, mentioned the matter before the CJI on March 29 and urged an early hearing as elections to BBMP have been long-delayed. Thereupon, the SC registry was directed not to delete the matter from the notified date.