State withdraws appeal filed by BJP government on post’s reservation row in High Court

A Congress councillor belonging to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) could well become the next mayor in the BJP-dominated Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

This is because the new Congress government in the State on Tuesday told a Division Bench of the High Court that it would “abide” by the April 19 interim order of a single judge Bench, which had directed the government to hold elections to the posts of the mayor and the deputy mayor only if either of the two posts is mandatorily reserved for the ST category.

Why it could happen

Though the Bharatiya Janata Party has a majority with 112 councillors in the 198-member council, it has none hailing from the ST category. The Congress has two — Lokesh V. Nayaka from Neelasandra ward and Indira from Byatarayanapura ward.

In fact, it was these two councillors who had last year approached the court seeking reservation. Though the court did not pass any order on their petition during previous elections, this time it restrained the government from reserving either of these posts to non-ST categories, including the general category. The previous BJP-led government had appealed against the court’s April 19 interim order restraining it from reserving either of these posts to any categories other than the ST. It reasoned that so far these two posts were never reserved for STs in Bangalore though it was the 15th term of the palike as per the rules of reservation by rotation.

Background

The BJP government had in February reserved the post of mayor to general category and that of deputy mayor to Backward Class A. On April 19, the government then issued notification setting the calendar of events for holding elections to these posts on April 27.

However, this could not be enforced as the High Court order, which too was issued on April 19, prevailed over the notification. Consequently, the then government filed an appeal but it did not come up for hearing before the Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, BJP’s councillor from Basavanagudi ward B.S. Sathyanarayana also filed an appeal before the Division Bench of the High Court challenging April 19 interim order but a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna on Tuesday threw it out saying saying he was not a litigant before the single judge bench.

As his counsel submitted that he has already filed an application to implead himself in the petition, the Bench asked the single judge to consider his plea in accordance with the law expeditiously. The present possibility may change only if April 19 order gets modified before the single judge bench by entertaining Mr. Sathyanarayana’s plea.