'Check antecedents before nominations to ward panels’

Stating that it knows how to deal with attempts to “frustrate” directions given for constitution of ward committees, the Karnataka High Court on Monday gave the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner 15 days to nominate members to the ward committees after scrutinising the names submitted by the respective councillors.

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued the direction while hearing PIL (public interest litigation) petitions complaining about garbage problems.

The court was told that the BBMP council, which met on January 15 as per the court’s direction to constitute ward committees, resolved to seek a relook at the law on ward committees as there was no provision to appoint persons from Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

To this, the Bench reacted orally saying: “It appears that the BBMP resolution is a bogey created to frustrate court order. It is not nomination to the post of President or Prime Minister. Why can’t councillors find 10 persons as per the law in their ward when these persons [councillors] go to every house seeking votes, that too at night? Where is a bar to appoint an OBC member in law? If they can’t find 10 persons… they are unfit to hold their post.”

BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah, who was present in court, clarified that though Council sought clarification from the government on OBC members, most councillors had submitted their list of nominees. The remaining councillors are likely to do so in the next couple of days. Mr. Siddaiah sought two more weeks as he had to verify the antecedents of those in the list.

The Bench, observing that those disqualified from being elected councillors cannot become members of the ward committees, asked the commissioner “to take proper care to see that such persons are not appointed lest the wrong message is sent to the public.”

It adjourned further hearing to February 4.

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