Councillors to seek legal opinion on the seven-month term

: The new members and chairpersons of the 12 standing committees of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will have to be content with just a seven-month term.

Their term will end on April 24, 2014, the same as that of Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana and his deputy Indira.

Sources said the BBMP had sought a legal opinion from the former Advocate-General Ashok Haranahalli in 2011 about the terms of the standing committees, which were formed after a delay of five months. In his opinion on April 18, 2011, Mr. Haranahalli cited the directions of the Karnataka High Court in a writ petition filed in 1998 on the term of standing committees.

In the writ petition, sources said, the High Court had stated that the terms of the standing committees and Mayors and Deputy Mayors will end on the date of the election of the first Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Going by this, the terms of the current Mayor and his deputy and the 12 standing committees will end on April 24, when the first Mayor S.K. Nataraj assumed office.

Several committee members are upset about this shortened term, it is said. “Each one of us will have our own set of plans for the city’s development and pace of working. We will not be able to achieve anything in seven months,” said a newly-elected panel member.

M.S. Shivaprasad, chairperson of the Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance, told The Hindu that the councillors knew that the term would be a short one. He, however, conceded that there was some confusion about the term. “The party may seek a legal opinion. No one is above the law. We will abide by the law,” he said.

Concurring, Umesh Shetty, chairperson of the Standing Committee for Town Planning, stated that they would all abide by the party’s decision and make way for the new committees in April 2014.

It may be recalled that though the term of the former Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy and the standing committees, whose terms are coterminous with that of the Mayor, ended in April 2013, elections could not be held as the matter regarding reservation was pending in the court.

Elections to the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor was held on September 4. Though elections to the various committees was scheduled on the same day, it was postponed to September 11 and was eventually held on Monday.

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