BENGALURU: Expressing displeasure over the state government for forcing the State Election Commission (SEC) to approach the court for delimitation of BBMP wards, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the government to file objections setting out the exercise for delimitation and reservation of wards. Directing the state to submit the statement on March 3, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shriniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar said, “It is shocking that the SEC is forced to approach the court against the state on failure of statutory duty. The term of BBMP council will expire on September 10, and the SEC will have to hold election on time.”
The bench adjourned the hearing to March 4.
Cautioning that it proposes to impose heavy cost, not less than Rs 10 lakh, for forcing SEC to file the petition, the bench said, “This is a fit case to impose exemplary cost on the state.” “The work of delimitation of wards should be completed at the earliest. Prima facie there is no impediment to do the exercise earlier,” the bench noted. Senior advocate K N Phanindra drew the court’s attention to the hardship faced by SEC due to state’s delay in delimitation and reservation exercise.
The government advocate submitted that they need 30 days for delimitation and more time for reservation of wards. The SEC had moved the court seeking directions for immediate issue of final denotification of delimitation as well as the final notification of reservation of seats in all 198 wards. It has stated that despite requests made between July 4, 2018 and September 27, 2019, to provide the final delimitation notification and reservation of seats, the state did not issue delimitation or reservation notifications. The SEC said they are handicapped in taking any further steps in the preparation, announcing and conducting elections to BBMP.