The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday paved the way for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) election as per the schedule announced by the State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday. BBMP Council will go to the polls on February 21.
The SEC has also announced the calendar of events.
The High Court had, on Monday, heard a batch of petitions challenging the reservation of wards and guidelines issued by the Government and had reserved its orders for Tuesday.
In its order, a Division Bench, comprising Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice B.V. Nagaratna, permitted the SEC to hold the election as per schedule.
The Bench made it clear that the Government would have to take steps to rectify in a fortnight the defects in the reservation of wards.
The Government should also frame rules for delimitation and reservation of wards under Section 21 (3) of the KMC Act within three months for all local bodies in the State.
The court, however, dispensed with the framing of rules in the election. It quashed a Government Order in the form of guidelines reserving seats under each Assembly segment to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
While the writ petitions challenging the delimitation of wards were dismissed, those relating to reservation were disposed of.
The cases were adjourned by two weeks.
The High Court order has come as a shot in the arm for the SEC which is all set to conduct the election.
The last election to the civic body was in 2001.
The civic body was dissolved in 2006 after it completed its term, and election to its council was postponed for one reason or the other. It was in 2006 that a former Mayor, P.R. Ramesh, first filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition before the High Court seeking expeditious election. Since then, the Government had been stalling for time whenever the case came up for hearing.
On November 16, 2009, the High Court asked the State to announce reservation of wards by November 30, and the SEC to announce the election schedule by December 7.
Tuesday’s order removes the last legal hurdle for the first ever election to BBMP. Till 2001, the civic body was known as the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP). Thereafter, the BBMP came into being with the amalgamation of several CMCs and a TMC in and around Bangalore.
The election code of conduct will come into force on January 15. The notification will be issued on February 1 and the last date for filing of nomination papers is February 8. Scrutiny will be held on February 9.
The last date to withdraw nomination papers is February 11. Counting of votes will be on February 24.