For months now, reservations for Bengaluru’s city council seats have been in the eye of a storm. Citizens across the city have questioned the state government on the method used to reserve wards. In the process, cases have been filed both in the High Court (HC) and Supreme Court, both of who have quashed the original list released by the state.
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The list released by the government on 23 February is here. Ward reservation list.
To reserve the 23 wards for the Scheduled Caste (SC) community in the BBMP council elections, two methods have been under discussion lately. One method involves arranging Bengaluru’s 28 Assembly Constituencies (AC) in descending order of their SC population. Of this, the top 23 are considered. In each of these ACs, the ward with the highest SC population is reserved. Therefore, of the 28 ACs, 23 ACs have a ward each which is reserved.
The second method is simpler, wherein you take the 198 wards in the city, and arrange them in descending order of their SC population. The top 23 wards with the highest SC population are reserved.
The government originally attempted reservations using the first method, and also using a process that was in violation of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act. The urban development department originally chose the first method saying that it ensures even distribution of reservations across the city. In December 2009, both the reservation list and the method were struck down by the HC and the court asked the government to redo the list.
It is this second method that the government had to follow when issuing the new list. With the second method, only 12 of the 28 ACs will have wards reserved for the SC community.
Using this method, Citizen Matters has compiled a list of 23 wards in the city with the highest SC population. The population figures have been obtained from the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore district.
As you will notice in the list released on 23 February it is precisely these wards that have been reserved for the SC community.
Since December the matter of ward reservations has gone between the High Court and the Supreme Court twice. The High Court issued fresh dates to the state government to complete the elections by March 30, and the state government appealed that to the Supreme Court, citing a variety of reasons including unavailability of schools in March.
Now as the Supreme Court has tossed the ball back to the Karnataka High Court, the State Election Commission (SEC) is reported to be ready to hold BBMP council elections anytime once the state government releases the ward reservations list. The government has done this and the last date for objections is March 2nd.
Updated 24 February 2010 to account for the ward reservation list released by the state government.