Mayor, others risk contempt proceedings

HC upset by ‘open defiance’ on order regarding compensation for damage caused by potholes

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday indicated that it is necessary to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Leader of Ruling Party, Chairpersons of Standing Committees on Public Works, Finance and Public Health for ‘openly defying’ directions issued to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to give publicity to its order that citizens can seek compensation for loss and damage caused due to potholes.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur made oral observations in this regard after going through an affidavit filed by the BBMP Commissioner, who had stated that the Mayor and others had discussed the direction and found that the matter was required to be placed before the BBMP Council for discussion.

The bench orally directed the BBMP advocate to provide the names and addresses of the Mayor and others on November 28 for initiating contempt proceedings.

The Commissioner had pointed out that the meeting chaired by the Mayor came to the unanimous decision to place the matter before the Council for a threadbare discussion as the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 has no provision/rule/regulation/bylaw for determination and payment of compensation for damage caused to citizens due to potholes.

The Council, after making appropriate resolution in this regard, will have to send the same to the State government to frame appropriate rules for receiving applications, investigation and determination of compensation in case of damage caused due to potholes, the Commissioner stated while also indicating that the BBMP has filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court questioning the High Court’s direction on giving publicity on citizens’ right to seek compensation.

However, the bench termed the contents of the affidavit ‘open defiance’ of court’s orders while asking the BBMP counsel to give the names of Mayor, Deputy Mayor and others for initiating contempt proceedings while pointing out that its directions were not adhered despite three consecutive warnings about initiating contempt proceedings.

Making it clear that it cannot tolerate any attempt that impacts the prestige of the court, the bench said that it cannot allow such a tendency of showing disregard to its order as it will allow political leaders to sit together and decide not to implement its orders.

When BBMP counsel claimed that a discussion in the Council is warranted as there is no provision to grant compensation in the KMC Act, the bench questioned whether there are provisions in the law for potholes and illegal structures.

What the BBMP Commissioner has to say:

Reacting to High Court of Karnataka initiating contempt proceedings against the Mayor, ruling party leader and others, BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar told mediapersons on Wednesday that the civic body will have to frame rules to provide compensation to victims of pothole-related accidents. “The Motor Vehicle Act has clearly specified how the cases have to be dealt with, how the compensation should be decided and so on. We will have to come up with something along those lines,” he added.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:53:00 AM |

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