With the Supreme Court extending the deadline for conducting Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) election by four weeks, the State Election Commission (SEC) is now preparing to arrange a fresh poll schedule for civic body in Bengaluru.
S Honnamba, Secretary of State Election Commission, told Citizen Matters that in accordance with the Supreme Court order, the SEC will conduct the polls before August 28th. “Though initially there was confusion about eight weeks time granted by the Court, now the ambiguity is cleared. We have cancelled the schedule of events for BBMP polls that we had announced earlier. We are yet to take a decision on when the polls will be held,” she said.
The Supreme Court granted a time of eight weeks from July 3rd, for conducting BBMP election. SEC had announced calendar of events for polls and had scheduled it for July 28th. Hearing the Special Leave Petition filed by the Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes vs C K Ramamurthy and others, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu dismissed the order of the High Court single bench that mandated polls before July 28th, and gave eight weeks time to conduct polls.
Though the State government had sought extension of deadline for holding polls on the grounds of delimitation and reservation based on 2011 census, the Supreme Court negated the plea. However, the Court did not cite any reason for granting extra time.
Plea based on reservation argument dismissed
In its verdict on a petition on BBMP polls on May 5th, the Supreme Court bench chaired by H L Dattu had directed the State government and the State Election Commission to conduct polls before August 5th. Last month, the State Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Commission and the State government filed an Interlocutory Application (IA) in the High Court seeking time to conduct polls in order to allow authorities to conduct polls after delimitation and reservation based on 2011 census.
The High Court Single bench dismissed the applications and ordered the government and the SEC to hold polls as per the Supreme Court order. Later the State government and Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes again moved to the Supreme Court and filed a Special Leave Petition seeking time to conduct polls based on fresh delimitation and reservation. the Supreme Court dismissed this petition, granting eight weeks’ time to complete the elections.
Confusion on dates cleared
Confusion ruled the media reports over the Supreme Court ruling, with different newspapers putting out different interpretations. This was because of the way the order was worded.
The order copy uploaded on the Supreme Court website for the petition (SLP (Civil) CC 12286-12289/2015) says that the permission tofile Special Leave Petition is dismissed in SLP(C)…CC Nos.12286-12289 of 2015. It also disposes of all related petitions. “However, eight weeks’ further time is granted from today to the State and its authorities to complete the election process,” says the order.
Legal advisor to Government of Karnataka, Brijesh Kalappa said that it was eight weeks’ time from the time given in the earlier order, that is, eight weeks from August 5th, as the Supreme Court did not negate the earlier order issued on May 5th 2015 that mandated polls before August 5th.
“Nowhere in the order does it say that the earlier order stands cancelled,” he said, adding that the court has given extra two months to complete the election process.
However, in the clarifications issued to the media, P N Srinivasachari, the State Election Commissioner, said that BBMP polls will be held before August 28th, which is eight weeks from July 3rd, as per the Supreme Court order.