Karnataka mulls over filing appeal before SC seeking 3 months time to hold local body polls

Declaring that the Karnataka Government is committed to providing political reservation to OBCs in local bodies while holding elections, Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy on Thursday said the government was considering filing an appeal before the Supreme Court seeking two or three months time to hold local body polls.

Briefing reporters after the State Cabinet meeting, he said the issue had been discussed in detail at a meeting convened by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in which himself, representatives of the Law Department, and the State Advocate-General participated.

Mr. Madhuswamy pointed out that the Supreme Court in its instructions to Madhya Pradesh had said that polls to local bodies should be held without any delay after the expiry of their term. In an obvious reference to its earlier order in which it had stressed the need for studying the political backwardness of OBCs through empirical data before giving reservation to them in local bodies, he said the court had observed that elections to local bodies should be held soon with provisions for reservation to only SC/STs and that there was no need to wait for giving reservation to OBCs.

Mr. Madhuswamy said Karnataka was a pioneer in providing reservation to OBCs in local bodies as the system had commenced in 1983. While it is not possible to stop the practice, the State Government had recently appointed a commission headed by a retired Karnataka High Court judge Bhaktavatsala to study the political backwardness of OBCs. The commission, which had earlier been given a three-month deadline to file the report, had now been requested to expedite the process, he said and noted that all these aspects would be brought up before the Supreme Court.

“It is our firm resolve not to go for elections without making provisions for the reservation to OBCs in all local bodies, including the BBMP,” he said, adding that the Opposition would be taken into confidence.

Referring to the court’s instructions to hold elections in the same format that existed when their term expired, he said, “This would create confusion as we cannot take delimitation of wards into consideration for the BBMP if the polls have to be held for the earlier version of the BBMP limits.” Also, it would not be possible to consider 110 villages that have been included into the BBMP if the elections were to be held as per the old format. There are similar issues with panchayats too.

To amend Act

Meanwhile, the State Cabinet decided to amend the Karnataka Land Revenue Act to provide one more opportunity to eligible people to apply for regularisation of unauhtorised cultivation of government land under Bagair Hukum scheme. Mr. Madhuswamy said this was because many could not apply before the deadline during COVID-19.

The Cabinet also decided to increase the subsidy from 50% to 75% for SC/ST beneficiaries to buy land in industrial areas developed by the KSSIDC.

For free treatment

The Cabinet gave administrative approval to grant ₹29 crore for ensuring free treatment to children suffering from haemophilia and ₹15 crore for those suffering from thalasssemia and sickle cell anemia.

The Cabinet also approved the cyber security policy whose draft was announced recently.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 9:34:24 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-mulls-over-filing-appeal-before-sc-seeking-3-months-time-to-hold-local-body-polls/article65408345.ece