The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday imposed a cost of ₹5 lakh on the State government for delaying delimitation and reservation of seats for zilla and taluk panchayats despite grant of time by the court on several occasions to complete these processes, and thereby frustrating the constitutional mandate of timely holding of elections to these local bodies.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi passed the order castigating both the government and the State Delimitation Committee for the inordinate delay.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the State Election Commission last year complaining about non-completion of the delimitation and reservation processes.
The court had granted time to compete delimitation and reservation twice over the last one year to the government, which had earlier cited the request from the committee to complete the process.
However, the Bench on Wednesday found that this time the committee itself had sought three more months time from the court to complete the process as the earlier time granted by the court expires on December 18.
Making it clear that it does not approve the approach of the government and the commission, the Bench said that it is extending the time to complete delimitation and reservation process till January 31, 2023. The extension of time would be subject to the government depositing the cost of ₹5 lakh, the Bench said.