Supreme Court warns against bid to frustrate poll process

Noticing that repeated attempts are being made to postpone elections to the 208 urban local bodies (ULB) in the State, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued directions to all officers and other functionaries of the State not to make any attempt to frustrate the election process initiated by the State Election Commission (SEC).

The court also directed the Chief Secretary and all subordinate officers to comply with the directions given by SEC in holding the elections.

A Bench of the apex court comprising Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice H.L. Gokhale suo motu issued directions in this regard even after counsel for the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS), Karnataka, sought the court’s permission to withdraw a petition in which it had questioned the SEC’s February 5 instruction issued to all deputy commissioners to get prepared to conduct the elections as per the 2007 reservation list.

The State government obeyed neither the Karnataka High Court’s three separate directions to issue a fresh reservation list nor the direction given by the Supreme Court to publish the list by February 4.

Fiat to officers

However, the Bench said, keeping in view the background facts and the orders passed by the High Court and this court earlier, “we consider it imperative to direct Chief Secretary, State of Karnataka, and all officers subordinate to him to comply with the directions given by the SEC, Karnataka, in the matter of holding elections to local bodies and extend full cooperation to it.”

“We also direct that no officer of the State Government or any other functionary shall make an attempt to frustrate the process initiated by the State Election Commission for holding and completing the election for the local bodies in accordance with the mandate of Article 243U of the Constitution,” the Bench observed.

The court also directed its registry to communicate this order to the Chief Secretary through fax by February 14.