Bengaluru: The High Court of Karnataka has issued notice to the state government on a public interest litigation challenging the Constitutional validity of several sections of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Act, 2020.
The Citizens Action Forum has challenged Sections 75, 76, 77, 78, 79 and 86 of the Act claiming that they “are prima facie violative of several provision of the Constitution of India.”
The petition has also alleged that Sections 75 and 77, which allow creation of Constituency Consultative Committee and the Zonal Committee, “that in effect operate so as to supersede the Ward Committees and render them otiose.”
The Constitution allows for the creation of ward committees but not other panels. “These committees have been established in blatant violation of the spirit of Article 243-S” of the Constitution, the petition says.
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The petition came up for hearing before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale.
Section 76 of the BBMP Act prescribes the function of the Constituency Consultative Committee while Section 78 outlines the powers and functions of the Zonal Committee.
The petition alleges that the “Constituency Consultative Committee exercises executive and supervisory powers over the Zonal Committee which in turn exercises executive and supervisory powers over the Ward Committees.”
Alleging that “the impugned Sections are in blatant disregard of Part IX-A of the Constitution, its objectives and reasons, and renders the Ward Committees, established by constitutional mandate, nugatory and otiose,” the petition calls for their quashing.
Citing an example of how the ward committees have been made ‘toothless’, the petition said, “The Government of Karnataka has on 01.04.2022 announced that the BBMP’s budget outlay for the year 2022-23 will be Rs.10,484 Crore. The Government of Karnataka has on 08.05.2022 conditionally approved an additional outlay of Rs.377.5 Crore. Of these funds, Rs.924 Crore are earmarked for Ward level works. These public monies will be utilized by the Constituency Consultative Committees and the Zonal Committees, to the exclusion of the Ward Committees.”