The High Court of Karnataka, which on Friday directed the State government to redo the process of reserving wards of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike for women and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) categories, also set December 31 as the deadline to complete elections to the civic body.
The court said the government should complete the process of fixing the reservation of the wards for women and the OBC categories by November 30, and the State Election Commission (SEC) should complete the process of holding elections to the civic body within a period of 30 days from November 30.
No extra time
Earlier, the government had told the court that it might require around 16 weeks to redo the process of reservation for OBCs but the court declined to grant 16 weeks.
Justice Hemant Chandangoudar passed the order while disposing of a batch of petitions filed by V. Srinivas and several others questioning the legality of the methodology adopted by the government in reserving wards for different categories through its notification issued on July 21, 2022.
Accepting petitioners’ challenge to the methodology in reservation of wards for the OBC category on the ground that it was contrary to the methodology approved by the apex court, Justice Chandangoudar said the government should collect empirical data of OBC population on a war footing and furnish it to the commission, which was set up earlier to make recommendations to provide reservation to OBCs.
The government has to issue a fresh notification providing reservation for OBCs after securing the revised report from the commission, the court said.
The government had reserved 81 wards for the OBCs based on randomisation method as the commission had recommended reserving 33% of the total 243 wards to the OBCs.
On reservation of wards for the women, the court said reservation of a majority of the wards for women in some Assembly constituencies would deprive women from wards in other constituencies from political participation in the elections. Hence, the court directed the government to reserve wards for women by proportionately spreading it across the constituencies based on descending order of their population in wards.
However, the court did not interfere in the reservation provided to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The government had reserved wards for SCs and STs in descending order of their population ward-wise based on 2011 census.