Bengaluru civic polls: Supreme Court considers submission of plea for urgent hearing

A bench was told by that elections have not taken place despite the fact that the tenure of the civic body ended in September 2020

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would look into submissions for urgent hearing of the plea related to conducting polls for the 'Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike' (BBMP), whose term ended on September 10, 2020.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was told by senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for some of the candidates for the civic body polls, that elections have not taken place despite the fact that the tenure of the civic body ended in September 2020.

The senior lawyer said the poll process has been stayed by an order of the apex court.

"There are enough elections happening in the country," the bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli, said.

When Arora said the issue pertained to the civic poll of a body whose tenure has ended, the bench said, "You have mentioned. Leave it to us. We will see."

Earlier, the Karnataka government had sought urgent hearing of its pending plea against a high court verdict asking the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold elections in 198 wards of the BBMP.

The bench was told that the five-year term of the civic body expired in 2020, and there was an urgency as the poll process had been stayed by a bench headed by the then CJI S A Bobde (since retired).

The high court verdict of December 4, 2020 had asked the SEC to hold the election within six weeks.

The state government had moved the top court, challenging the high court order which directed the BBMP polls as per a delimitation notification of September 23, 2020, instead of the 243 seats as mentioned in the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Third Amendment Act (2020).

The government said the high court judgment had nullified the unanimous will of the state legislature, which is made up of the representatives of the people and had amended the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act of 1976 to increase the number of wards in Bengaluru to 243.

The state government said the high court had handicapped efforts to “improve urban governance in one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in India”.

The increase in the number of wards was necessitated by the fact that the population and demographics of the city have undergone vast changes since 2009 when the number of wards was increased to 198, the plea said.

After the five-year tenure of the incumbent BBMP Council expired in September last year, the state government appointed a senior IAS officer as administrator of the civic body.

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