HC fines state govt, clears way for BBMP polls

Uncertainty that loomed large over BBMP election has been cleared, with the High Court on Monday dismissing the State government’s Impleading Application (IA) seeking time to conduct polls on the grounds of releasing fresh reservation roster.

Apart from dismissing the IA, the Court also imposed penalty on the government for abuse of the process of judiciary. The Court has ordered the State government to pay Rs 10,000 to each of the respondents in the case. It also dismissed applications filed by other applicants including Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and levied them a fine of Rs 1,000 to be paid to each of the respondent for each application.

Justice B V Nagarathna who delivered the judgment directed the State government and the State Election Commission (SEC) to comply with the order of the Supreme Court to hold the election before the stipulated time.

It could be recalled that a few corporators had approached the High Court seeking BBMP polls to be held on time. The Court in its judgment on March 30th 2015, had directed the State government and SEC to conduct the polls before May 30th. When the State filed an appeal before the HC division bench, the bench gave a six months time to conduct the polls. This was again questioned at the Supreme Court. The State government submitted before the apex court that it was ready to conduct polls within three months. The apex court in its judgment on May 5th 2015, directed the State government and SEC to conduct election before three months.

Soon, Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes filed a petition in the High Court challenging the reservation roster prepared by the State. It demanded that a fresh reservation roster has to be prepared based on 2011 census as against the existing roster based on 2001 census. The State too filed an impleading application and said that it would do delimitation of wards and prepare a fresh reservation list if the Court permits to do so. 

However, the High Court in its judgment on Monday dismissed the IA and all other applications, and said that the Court has no power to modify the Supreme Court order to conduct polls on time. “It is a matter of regret that the State has attempted to subvert judicial discipline,” the judge observed.

Dismissing all the applications with costs, the Court said “these applications filed by the applicants including the State, are not only an abuse of the process of the Court, but contrary to the principle of finality of litigation and have taken up considerable time of this Court.” In the judgment, the Court has pointed at how impleading application is an instance of taking the Court for granted.

On conducting the polls, the Judge said: “Respondent authorities are directed to comply with the spirit of the order dated March 30th 2015 and the order of the Supreme Court dated May 5th 2015, by issuing necessary notifications and taking requisite steps for holding the election in terms of the time stipulated by the SC.”

After this judgment, BJP leaders including Suresh Kumar met the State Election Commission and requested them to hold elections on time. With this, BBMP polls are expected to be notified on June 26th. The process will be completed by August 5th 2015 and a new council will be in place.

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Akshatha M
About Akshatha M 217 Articles
Akshatha M is a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.

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