Staff Reporter

HighCourt `As many as 182 days needed to notify the SEC to hold elections'

BANGALORE: The Government on Thursday informed the Karnataka High Court that it needs 182 days to notify the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold elections to the newly constituted Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

In its affidavit placed before the court, the State said it had drawn up a calendar of events before notifying the SEC on holding elections.

The State had filed the affidavit after a former councillor from Bangalore M. Nagaraj moved the court seeking elections to the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) and declare as illegal and ultra vires the November 23, 2006, notification seeking to merge seven local bodies around Bangalore with the BMP and constitute the BBMP. P.R. Ramesh, a former Mayor, had filed another public interest litigation petition challenging the delay in holding elections. When the matter came up on Thursday, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice B.S. Patil which has been hearing the case sought to know from the Government why it could not conduct elections to the existing wards of the BMP and if members could be nominated from the newly added areas.

It also sought to know why only officials had to be appointed as Administrator and whether Section 509 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act mandated only officials to be appointed as Administrators. The Chief Justice observed that in Kerala, there had been occasions when non-officials had been appointed as Administrators.

Delimitation

The Principal Government Advocate submitted that elections could be held only after the process of delimitation was completed and that the State would require at least 182 days to complete all pre-election formalities.

He said the outgoing Mayor could not be appointed as Administrator as the post of Mayor was confined only to Bangalore and the Administrator now appointed was for the BBMP. When the Bench asked the SEC how much time it would require to conduct the elections, the SEC said it would need three months after receiving the Government intimated it. The ballot papers would have to be revised and other procedures followed.

The petitioners assailed the government action and urged the court to direct the Government to hold elections.

They said the State had violated the provisions of the Constitution.

The Bench reserved orders on the petitions.

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