After ordering that Ward Committees (WCs) be set up in every ward of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Karnataka High Court on Monday asked the BBMP to immediately publish the names and details of the WC members, including their mobile and landline numbers, on its website and notice boards.
A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued the direction after the BBMP informed the court that WCs have been set up in 182 of the 198 wards and that many have conducted their first meetings.
It was then brought to the notice of the Bench that their details are not available to the public.
Pointing out that the objective was to ensure public participation in proper management of solid waste and other issues, the court said, “people are required to know who are the persons entrusted with the responsibility of managing garbage and other duties.” Publishing their details would also help the WC members be accountable for any mismanagement besides redressing public grievances.
The BBMP told the Bench that the process of setting up WCs in 15 wards is being delayed as the list of names submitted by the councillors was not in accordance with the law.
It was problematic in another ward due to the disqualification of the elected councillor.
Following this, the Bench directed that the Member-Secretary of the WC, an official nominated by the BBMP, to officiate as the Chairperson till the councillor could represent the ward.
The court gave this clarification while observing that though the councillor has to head the ward committee, the law makes it clear that “no act done or proceedings taken by the WC shall be invalid merely on the ground of any vacancy in it”.