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Allow us to hold BBMP poll in 198 wards: Poll panel to Karnataka High Court

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The State Election Commission (SEC) has moved the Karnataka High Court seeking directions to hold elections to 198 wards of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and not wait till the delimitation process is over.The SEC has sought the direction in its application before the court, pleading to add additional facts and prayer to the public interest litigation which was filed in January 2020 seeking directions to the state government to hold elections before the BBMP Council term expired. With this, the SEC has questioned the state’s decision to postpone the elections. 

IAS Sanjiv Kumar, who is Chief Electoral
Officer, Karnataka, gets his doctorate for his
thesis ‘MGNREGA – Law Rights, Process –
Sustainable Livelihood – A Critical Study in
Karnataka’ from the University of Mysore

The SEC said that the final delimitation notification was issued on June 23 and draft reservation notification on September 14 to hold elections to 198 Wards. The same arrangement should continue and the state government should be directed to issue the final reservation notification, irrespective of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (Third Amendment) Act, 2020 — amending Sections 7 and 21 of the Act to increase the number of Wards from 198 to 243, the SEC prayed before the court. 

The SEC pleaded that the state government requires at least 12 months to issue delimitation and reservation notification for 243 Wards if it starts the process after receiving recommendations from the Delimitation Commission constituted recently. After that, 4-5 months will be needed to prepare and finalise fresh electoral rolls for new wards. The election process that has already started cannot be postponed as it would amount to flouting the mandate of the Constitution, the SEC argued. 

Similar arguments were placed by the other petitioners also. After hearing them, the bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi directed the state government to file its response by November 7 explaining why it was delaying the election process. The hearing was adjourned till November 10, 2020.

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