The Supreme Court Friday said that necessary notifications regarding delimitation of wards and determining reservation percentage for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the ‘Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’ (BBMP) be notified within eight weeks.
The apex court also noted that the process of delimitation of wards is at the “final stage” and formal notification will be issued shortly by the state.
The top court said it has been urged before it that the state may be permitted to issue notification regarding delimitation within eight weeks.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and J B Pardiwala observed that the state has also assured to put in all efforts to ensure that the work assigned to the dedicated commission concerning the determination of reservation would be completed within the same time.
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“The assurance given on behalf of the state is placed on record and is accepted,” it said.
The bench said that necessary notifications regarding delimitation of wards or be it for determining reservation percentage for the newly constituted corporation be completed and notified, not later than eight weeks from today. The top court was hearing a plea related to conducting polls for the BBMP, whose term ended on September 10, 2020.
The apex court said the Karnataka State Election Commission (SEC) shall thereafter commence the preparatory exercise for conducting elections to install the newly elected body of the greater Bengaluru Corporation, constituted under Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Act 2020.
It said the SEC can commence that exercise within one week from the date of notification of delimitation of wards and/or determination of reservation to be provided for OBCs based on recommendations made by the dedicated commission, whichever is later.
The bench said once the SEC initiates the process, it must take the same to its logical end in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible. The apex court posted the matter for further hearing on July 22.
Earlier, the Karnataka government had sought an urgent hearing of its pending plea against the high court verdict asking the SEC to hold elections in 198 wards of the BBMP.
The apex court was earlier told that the five-year term of the civic body had expired in 2020 and there was an urgency as the poll process had been stayed by the top court.
The high court verdict of December 4, 2020, had asked the SEC to hold the election within six weeks.
The state government had moved to the top court, challenging the high court order which directed the BBMP polls as per a 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 judgement had nullified the unanimous will of the state legislature, which is 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 the 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 five-year tenure of the incumbent BBMP Council expired, the state government had appointed an IAS officer as the administrator of the civic body.