‘Such committees would have sorted out garbage menace’

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday set January 21 as deadline to the State government for ensuring constitution of Ward Committees (WCs) in each of the 198 wards of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) under the chairmanship of councillor of the respective wards.

The court said existence of the committees would have sorted out the garbage menace and avoided the city getting the tag of “garbage city” besides giving an opportunity for the people to hold the councillor responsible for the garbage menace as it is the councillors who head the committees that comprise nominated members from NGOs and other sections of society. One of the functions of these committees is to ensure proper solid waste management.

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, during the hearing on the public interest litigations (PIL) petitions complaining garbage menace, issued the direction when petitioners brought to the Bench’s notice that the committees were not constituted despite constitutional mandate in this regard.

It was pointed out by petitioners’ counsel that while Article 243S of the Constitution has made mandatory provision for setting up ward committees in each wards of city corporations across the country to be headed by elected representative of the respective ward, the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act has incorporated provisions for creating the committees, nominating members to it and its functions.

Noticing that ward committees were not set up even after the present elected body of the BBMP came into existence three years ago, the Bench said that it is “a clear case of total inaction” on the part of the State government in not nominating the members to the WCs. However, government counsel informed the court that the government can act only when the BBMP writes to the State for nominating members. The Bench said that it would pass further orders on sorting out the menace after constitution of ward committees as it could hold councillors personally responsible as they would be heading them.

Disqualification

Referring to an allegation in the issue related to garbage tender that a few garbage contractors were “nominees” of some councillors, the Bench said that “if they [councillors] truly act as representatives of people and keep their ward clean they command respect people assure their success in next elections.”

However, the Bench said it is not possible to assess the councillors and make them accountable due to non-constitution of ward committees, while pointing out that as per the provisions of the KMC Act any councillor having directly or indirectly any share or interest in any work done by order of the corporation, or in any contract or employment with or under” can be disqualified.

Audit

Meanwhile, the Bench also directed the BBMP to place on record the audited reports and the action taken on the remarks made against BBMP’s accounting system and expenditure on works by the Comptroller and Accountant General of India (CAG) in its report for 2010-11. The petitioners had pointed out that there is no system for solid waste management.


  • ‘Forming the committees will make the councillors responsible’

  • BBMP asked to submit ATR on CAG observations against its accounting system


  • More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL